Train Yourself to be More Mindful
Mindfulness is one of the hottest wellness trends, but what does it mean to live mindfully? A popular way to explain it is paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Sounds simple enough, right? But mindful living isn’t something you tick off your to-do list; it’s a journey and requires a moment-by-moment focus.
That’s why they call it practice—staying in the moment is something you’ll always work on.
Tips for being mindful
Think of mindfulness like a muscle that you exercise—the more you work out, the easier it gets. Since this practice is all about being present and judgment free, don’t expect perfection right away. Pick a place to start and get to it with these simple mindfulness tips.
“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day–unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb
Meditation is concentrated mindfulness where you sit quietly and observe your thoughts. But how much meditation is enough? An old Zen proverb offers this prescription: “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day—unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”
All jokes aside, there’s no set amount of time. The important thing is to find what works for you. Even one minute of meditation helps you stay mindful. If you’re new to meditation, use these ideas to get started.
- Just breathe. Instead of focusing on clearing your mind, try taking a few deep, deliberate breaths periodically throughout your day.
- Scan your body. Each hour, notice any tension and release it—unclench your jaw, shake out your shoulders, and relax your neck.
- Perfect your practice. Get some pointers in our beginner’s guide to meditation.
- Set the scene. Cue your mind that it’s time to meditate with a diffuser blend you use only during your practice—we suggest the grounding, calming aromas of Frankincense, Lavender, and Cypress.
Slow down and enjoy the process
One of the perks of practicing mindfulness is that it can turn mundane chores into something satisfying—and maybe even a little fun. Find ways to savor the process of a task instead of rushing to check it off the list.
Since you have to make dinner anyway, why not start there? Try spending one evening focusing on the process of preparing ingredients, seasoning to perfection, and plating like a pro. Even if you’re making one of your go-to, easy dinners, this is a great time to practice staying present.
We’re not saying distractions are always bad. (Who doesn’t love getting lost in a good book or a movie?) But being constantly distracted can mean you miss out on the magic of life’s small moments.
Whether you’re hanging out with loved ones or enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, make the most of your time by tuning out unimportant distractions. Here are some ideas you might try.
- Make mealtime more meaningful. Set aside the screens at dinner and focus on connecting with your family.
- Notice nature. Whether it’s a walk around the block or hike to the tallest peak, ditch the headphones so you can listen to the sounds of the outdoors.
- Quiet your mind. When negative thoughts disrupt your peace, jot them down on a piece of paper—then throw them out.
When you have jobs to juggle, errands to run, and children to wrangle, it’s easy to get lost in the everyday hubbub. “I’m too busy to be mindful,” you might think. And we hear you. But practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to take all day. The trick is to look for small moments of stillness and quiet—we promise they exist!
For instance, focus on your breath at a stoplight, while you’re in the shower, or at bedtime. After a few weeks of this, you’ll start to see a shift. Living mindfully will soon become second nature, and you’ll find yourself finding time each day to feel present.
Mindfulness isn’t only about being still. When you do yoga, you learn how to practice mindfulness through movement. Staying in sync with your body and focusing on your breathing keeps you grounded in the present moment. You can use the time between stretches to reflect and meditate.
As we mentioned before, aromatherapy can help cue your mind that it’s time to be present. Here are some ideas to add essential oils to your yoga practice.
- Find your happy place. Put a drop of Palo Santo on your yoga mat and soak up the calming smell.
- Get “scentered.” Rub a drop of Frankincense or Myrrh onto your heart center to remind yourself to keep your heart open and let love in.
- Create a calming atmosphere. Diffuse Hinoki, Patchouli, and Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood™ for a wonderful, woodsy aroma during your flow.
What will you do to create more mindfulness in your life?