Life can become so busy that we sometimes realize at the end of the day that we were always living in another moment. Whether our thoughts were preoccupied with past mistakes or plans for the future, the rush and hustle of our modern culture can pull us out of really living our lives.
Struggling to live in the moment leaves us feeling disconnected and discontent. A lack of awareness and groundedness in our moment-by-moment lives can lead to anxiety, depression and overall reduced quality of life. Mindful living can work as an antidote to these feelings, but bringing a sense of presence to our daily routines.
What is mindful living?
According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness is the practice of building awareness of one’s internal state and surroundings. Mindfulness can help an individual focus on the present moment, assess emotions and embrace thoughts and perceptions with a neutral and constructive lens.
Mindfulness is similar to meditation and has become a trend in recent years. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress, improve self-control and boost concentration capabilities. Other benefits include the following:
- An improvement in psychological and general well-being
- Lowered blood pressure
- Improvement in sleep quality
- Decreased symptoms of depression
- Help with substance abuse issues
- Improved self-esteem
Mindful living is the art of applying mindfulness practices to a daily routine and sticking to them, to the point that they become habitual. Mindfulness exercises are the first step in creating a lifestyle that is grounded in the present moment, and the application of mindfulness exercises in a consistent and effective way is true success in mindful living.
How to apply mindfulness in daily life
Mindfulness practices include a wide variety of exercises, thought patterns and self-reflection. While there are many avenues to take, the following steps can help you learn the basics of mindfulness so you can begin incorporating them into your regular schedule today.
1. Focus on your senses
Mindfulness is all about living in the present moment, and the best way to hone that attitude is by focusing on your bodily and mental sensations. The five senses (touch, sight, smell, taste and sound) can alert you to your surroundings and clue you in to important things in your environment.
Mindfulness can happen anywhere at any time and uses no equipment. Many people enjoy practicing mindfulness outdoors in a peaceful place, but it’s important to engage in mindfulness in a variety of environments to hone your receptivity. At first, you may find it helpful to close your eyes or block out noise, but remember that all input is relevant to understanding your surroundings and deciding how to let those experiences affect you.
Additionally, focusing on your current thoughts can help you grow in awareness of how your surroundings are affecting you. Our lives can feel so hectic that we rarely understand the root cause of our emotions. For example, you may have had an entire day thrown off by excess traffic on your commute to work. Mindfulness can help you acknowledge that triggering experience quickly after it happens and move on. Rather than spending your whole day feeling “off,” you’ll be able to recognize the stimuli of your emotions.
2. Aim to absorb input without bias
As you grow in awareness of your physical sensations and thoughts, you’re likely to find that your initial experiences are filled with associated thoughts and opinions. For example, you might notice a smell, realize the laundry hasn’t been done in days and start making mental notes to start a load. The aim of mindfulness is to absorb input without letting it draw you into the past or the future, and fostering a sense of neutrality is essential to this occurring.
Absorbing input without bias doesn’t mean you can’t return to normal and productive patterns, it just means creating space for rest and relaxation through awareness. If you can accept your surroundings and embrace them, you’ll stop feeling that time is constantly slipping away.
3. Make the time
Mindfulness isn’t a habit that is easily built in a culture that glorifies productivity. The practice of building awareness of your surroundings and the internal state requires a devotion of time and focus that doesn’t at first appear to grant any immediate benefits. You may initially consider mindfulness to be a waste of time, while simultaneously struggling with the feeling that you’re never living in the moment.
Making time for mindfulness is essential to its effectiveness. You’ll need to set aside time at first to learn how to apply mindfulness in daily life in chunks of at least 10 minutes at a time, multiple times a day. In reality, this is a small commitment that could change your perspective on life and increase your mental health, even if it’s a hard habit to build.
Examples of mindfulness in everyday life
The foundations of mindfulness lend themselves to a few common mindfulness techniques. Here are some examples of mindfulness in everyday life that you can try today.
Meditations or mantras
Relax in a peaceful environment and focus on steady breathing. Then, repeat a specific word, phrase or mantra. The phrase should be relatively neutral but in alignment with constructive thinking patterns. This mantra could also be a deliberate attempt to negate a negative thinking pattern. For example, you may struggle with constant worry about potential harm. Repeating “I am safe and cared for,” would be an appropriate phrase to repeat.
Other thoughts may try to intrude. Embrace those as neutral input and let them drift out of your mind.
Focus on each part of your body
Sometimes done in combination with progressive muscle relaxation, a common example of mindfulness in everyday life is doing a body assessment. This includes paying attention to any physical sensation methodically, focusing on each part of the body, one at a time. This process should take between ten and 20 minutes and can include tensing and releasing tension in muscles.
Five senses mediation
A five senses mediation is as simple as it sounds. Wherever you are, acknowledge your experiences of each of your five senses. Consider whether the sense stimulates any emotions, or whether the emotions you felt beginning the meditation impacted your reception of the physical sensations. Determine which impressions are valuable or enjoyable and express gratitude for them.
Treatment for mental health or substance use
If you’re struggling to enjoy your life due to mental health issues or a substance use addiction, reach out to High Focus Treatment Centers. When you get connected to professional care with High Focus Treatment Centers, you’ll receive guidance in mindful living and learn how to live in the present moment again. Find healing today by calling High Focus Treatment Centers.