‘To be mindful all the time is HARD!’
‘Meditating is long and boring…’
‘I cannot focus while meditating – I should be able to STOP thinking’
‘Mindfulness is way too woo-woo for me…’
There’s so many things that we tell ourselves about mindfulness and being mindful, and it’s all crap! It’s absolutely non-sense. Sorry to burst your bubble so rudely here…
So then today, I decided that it was time: to bust some myths about mindfulness and create a blog post with 20 ways in which you can be mindful, without actually having to meditate or do hard exercises!
Some Mindfulness Basics
First of all, it’s important to know some of the basics of being mindful. Mindfulness is all about being in the here-and-now, without judgment and with an open, curious attitude. This means that to be mindful, you need to grab that inner critical voice (let’s call her Negative Nancy) and lock her up in a place where the sun doesn’t shine my dear…
And this may sound easy now, but when you try to practice it isn’t as easy at it might seem…
A lot of women are struggling with being non-judgmental towards themselves mostly. When trying to me mindful, they judge themselves for ‘not being able to focus’ and ‘drifting off, having lots of thoughts’.
But heck, that’s exactly what will happen as soon as you start doing mindful stuff!
Remember, you’re only human. Even when you think that you’re Superwoman sometimes – and hey, you probably are… but not always ?.
So, now that we’ve cleared that out of the way (hopefully)… let’s start to be a bit more mindful!
20 Ways to be Mindful without Meditating
Keeping a gratitude journal is ALWAYS a good thing to do. For anyone – even if you don’t necessarily want to be more mindful. Writing down what you’re grateful for – even if it’s the smallest things – makes you stand still for a minute. How does it feel, to have those things in your life?
Scan your Body Up and Down.
Noticing if there’s any muscle tension or emotions. Do this often on any given day. Especially when you’re a busy woman – like I am – it’s a very quick and easy way to get your daily dose of mindfulness!
Try to Eat and Drink Mindfully.
Whenever you can. Breakfast? Use your senses to really absorb the flavours and smell of your breakfast. Lunch? Dinner? Same thing.
Notice What You’re Thinking.
Are there positive, neutral or negative thoughts popping up inside your mind right now?
Activate Your Five Senses.
Try to hear, smell, touch, see and taste whatever you’re doing. (Ok, tasting your laptop screen would be weird… don’t do that LOL) Use your senses consciously, as often as you possibly can. Also, when you’re stressed and you worry a lot, try activating your senses even more by eating spicy or sour food for example. Give yourself some extreme stimuli – your brain will HAVE to pay attention to them! (Don’t do anything too extreme, ok? Be safe!)
Ground Yourself for a Bit.
ok, I know that this might sound a bit odd, but try to visualise that you have roots. Yes, like a big tree. And those roots reach allll the way down into the Earth. Stay with this image for a while and notice how you feel, what it does for you.
Find your Happy Place.
This is a visualisation exercise as well and actually one of my faves! Think of any place in the world (or in a movie or game) where you feel completely at home or comfortable. For me, this would be a beautiful mountain area in one of my favourite Nintendo Switch-games. The colours of that place are gorgeous and the image of it instantly makes me feel calm. What’s your Happy Place?
Do just One Minute of Mindful Breathing.
Breathe normally, and pay attention to your breath. That’s all there is to it!
Try to really Listen to Other People.
Whenever you’re having a conversation with someone, notice their mouth movements and their body language. Actively listen.
Whenever you do the Laundry – for example Folding Clothes – try to Really be Aware of the Sensations.
How does the fabric feel? What does the detergent smell like? And so on.
Physically Slow Yourself Down, literally.
Walk slower, move slower.
Focus on just One Thing at a Time.
If you’re cooking, you’re cooking. If you’re writing, you’re writing. You get the idea… ?
Watch Your Head.
The moment when you realise that you’re distracted at any given moment on any given day, you’re being mindful! Mindfulness is alllllll about the noticing.
Do Absolutely Freaking Nothing for a Minute or Two.
Just stare into nothingness if you want.
Now, what the heck does that mean?! Well, just notice what you see, hear, feel, smell and perhaps even taste. Use those senses!
When you Feel an Urge – Watch It and Don’t Give In (just yet).
See what happens. Try to open up to the experience and be curious.
Watch the Clouds for a Minute or Two.
Try to notice their shape, size and volume. (You can also do this with anything else by the way; just observe something. You can even observe your animals or kids mindfully.)
Count the Red Cars on the Highway!
Or grey, or blue…
Listen to your Favourite Song.
…and do absolutely nothing else. Listen to the sounds of the instruments, the pitch, the volume, and try to notice the way your ears and brain respond.
Breathe in Normally, then try to Lengthen Your Out Breath.
This will give your body a feeling of more relaxation. Do this a couple of times to instantly feel a bit of relief.
Do you want more Quick and Very Easy Tips to help you Relax in your Busy, Daily Life?
Come join our free online Secret School community! (Link below.)
With love, xo,
Jamila – Psychologist, Mindfulness- and ACT-therapist.
P.S. If you’re on Facebook, come join our Secret School Community! [Click here to come join.] Hope to see you there soon.