I get asked about my mindfulness practice on a daily basis. I think one of the biggest misconceptions about living a mindful life is that you have to set aside 30 minutes a day or longer to do it. This is simply not true. In fact, I practice being mindful several times throughout the day. I have noticed that by doing even these simple techniques, I am less reactive, more attentive, feel more grounded and am able to manage stress with more ease.
The following is a list of my favorite ways to take one minute to be mindful. Note: You don’t have to do them all in a day to reap the benefits. Just pick one or two from each category and mix them up.
In The Morning
- Set An Intention: Before you reach for your phone or baby monitor when you wake up, take a two-second pause to set an intention. Your intentions don’t have to be world changing. They are meant to be small. Maybe you want to go for a walk, you want to have more self-compassion or you want to use positive self-talk at least twice that day. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to start with how you want the day to go instead of staring at a screen.
- Take One Sip of Coffee or Tea: I don’t know how many times in a day that I have to reheat my coffee because I either forget about it or my daughter is demanding my attention. It may be a long shot to have an entire cup of a piping hot beverage, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that you get one sip. Before you take your first sip, smell it and feel the warmth of the steam on your face. Then take one sip with your eyes closed and really think about what it tastes like, about the temperature and about how it feels as it goes down your throat.
In the Afternoon
- Practice Mindful Walking: I must walk a million steps while at work or chasing after my baby. So why not incorporate walking into your mindful minute schedule? The next time you walk from one side of the house (maybe even with a baby on your hip) or office to the other, pause first, stand up straight and notice if you are balanced with your weight distributed evenly on each foot. Does one foot feel different than the other? Then as you begin to walk, think about feeling the earth below each part of your foot from your heel to your toe and back again. Repeat this process until you’ve reached your destination.
- Find Your Anchor Points: Your anchor points are located on your chest and belly. They are your grounding points and the focus and of your breath. Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly and close your eyes. Take a slow, four-count inhale through the nose while noticing what happens to anchor points as you breathe in. Does your chest rise and your belly expand? Hold the breath at the top for a second and then slowly let out a four count breath through your nose. Notice what happened to the anchor points when you exhale. Did your chest fall and your belly go in? Repeat as needed. I usually aim for about three to five.
- Practice Mindful Listening: This one is my favorites. You can do this anytime throughout the day, but my favorite time to do this is when I am putting Winter to bed. We often rock in her chair or lay in her teepee before bed. I will close my eyes and focus on only what I hear. Can you hear your own breath? The breath of those around you? What other sounds do you notice? The noise machine, the rocking chair below you? Just listen for a few moments and see if you hear something that you haven’t noticed before..
- Reflect: Before bed reflect upon the day. How did your day go? Did the intention you set help you? Why or why not? There are two ways I like to reflect. I listed them below:
- A Line a Day Journal: I love writing in this journal. I write down one thing that happened that day that I would want to remember. Did I eat somewhere delicious. Did my daughter say a new word? I love this journal because it takes one minute to write in and lasts for five years. It is so fun to compare lines from year to year.
- Rose, Thorn, Bud: I ask myself what was my rose of the day (the best part of the day), what was the thorn (the part that wasn’t so enjoyable) and what is my bud (something that I am looking forward to)?
Please let me know if you give these a go! I would love your feedback. And I know you too can live a mindful life, even in the midst of chaos :)
Photography by Brittany Renee'