This post is a partial excerpt of my brand new book Mindfulness Made Easy: An Introduction to Meditation. Available now on your favorite reading app for $2.99!
How to Practice Mindfulness
Anyone can practice mindfulness meditation at any time, at any age, during any activity, because it’s simply the habit of being fully immersed in the present moment without judgment. This takes practice. And there are many different mindfulness exercises we can use to practice.
The first thing to become aware of while adopting mindfulness are the opportunities to be mindful that present themselves in everyday life. We have to get used to recognizing mindful moments as they arise naturally, as well as creating our own mindful moments from scratch. This will help develop the habit of being fully present when we’re first starting out.
For example, we can create our own mindful moments by planning a date night, enjoying a full day off work, or going on a fabulous vacation.
We can prepare ourselves by saying things like, “We’re on a date right now. I’m going to give it my full attention by not letting anything else get to me.” This is one of the EASIEST mindfulness exercises!
We can also catch opportunities as they arrive, such as noticing a moment of silence when you’re home alone, or when you’re really enjoying a new movie. Soon enough, we’ll realize, “Hey, this is pretty amazing! I haven’t had to worry about anything else during this moment.”
After we begin to keenly recognize mindful moments in our everyday lives, we can embrace a more purposeful practice. Along with formal meditation exercises, weaving other mindfulness exercises throughout normal life helps us reap as many benefits as we can, as soon as possible.
Ways to Practice Mindfulness
One of the most common and effective mindfulness exercises is meditation. Formal meditation is only one path to mastering mindfulness, but it’s imperative to our success. A consistent meditation practice creates a solid foundation on which to build an entirely new mindful lifestyle.
Quieting the mind and body on command is a transferable skill. All areas of our lives can benefit from mindfulness, and in this section we will go over fifteen areas of life that present the opportunity to further practice being mindful.
These areas of life include: breathing, talking, listening, eating, movement, sex, sleep, creating, play, music, learning, planning, economic consumption, career building, and sharing. But the opportunities don’t end here with these examples.
Anything else you could ever possibly think of could potentially become a meditation practice. As long as you’re fully present in the moment, withholding judgment, and not running away with your thoughts, you’re practicing mindfulness meditation.
Below is a collection of fifteen everyday activities we all do that can double as mindfulness exercises:
1. Mindful Breathing
Place a hand on your belly, fully exhale all the air from your lungs, pause for a moment, then slowly inhale through your nose until your lungs are completely full again. Your belly will rise, indicating the amount of clean air within you.
At the top of the breath, pause again before slowly exhaling completely through your nose. With each breath you are filling yourself up with a whole bunch of fresh oxygen, and it feels so amazing!
2. Mindful Talking
If you struggle with “not having a filter” when you speak, practice controlling your impulses. Give yourself a five second rule; you must wait a minimum of five seconds before acting upon a thought or idea. Which include speaking it aloud.
Practice mindful talking by becoming aware of how you form your sentences, and what impact your words will have on whoever you’re saying them to (directly or indirectly). Don’t say the first thing that comes into your mind without thinking about it. Aim to be concise and profound.
3. Mindful Listening
Use a healthy and appropriate amount of eye contact. Asking meaningful follow up questions. Instigate conversation with people more often, especially friends and family. Genuinely care about what they have to say.
Listen to them without any other agenda. Simply be there for them. Take notice of what they are communicating non verbally. Whenever anyone expresses a personal opinion during conversation, allow them the space to freely speak without judgment.
4. Mindful Eating
Avoiding mindless snacking. Are you eating because you’re bored or because you’re actually hungry or because you just enjoy the taste? Becoming aware of the motivation behind your choices will make it much easier for you to make better choices. Savoring the flavors and textures instead of eating just to eat.
5. Mindful Movement
Either start doing a physical hobby that you already know you enjoy more often, and/or go out and discover a new one. Get creative and experimental!
I highly recommend everyone give yoga a try if you’re serious about learning mindfulness. Whatever your chosen physical sport, get good at it. Partake in it every day if you can. Pay extra close attention to the sensations in your body before, during, and after.
Related Article – Yoga: The Ancient Practice of Being
6. Mindful Sex
Accept your sexual desires as natural and safe. Find a healthy way to get your needs met by reflecting on your opinions on monogamy, romance, relationships, love, and different things in sex that you enjoy.
Communicate your needs with your long-term partner if you have one. Also be accepting and attentive to your partner’s needs. Being with someone you feel safe and comfortable with is top priority in mindful sex, regardless of relationships status. A mindful sex life will manifest differently for every adult.
7. Mindful Sleep
Begin a nighttime routine that will help teach your body that it is time to sleep. Refrain from eating or drinking too much within the last few hours of being awake. Turn off all the lights and technology devices for the night. Get comfy, lose your eyes, and let go of all the events of the day. Aim to get at least six hours of sleep, waking up and going to bed around the same time.
8. Mindful Creating
Set aside time at least once a week to freely create something fun just for yourself, with no other agenda or intention. Create for the sake of creating! Remove all other distractions, even for an hour, and create something that represents you in some way.
Not feeling like you’re an artist of any kind? I challenge you to FIND something that you’d be interested in learning and do it just for the sake of creative fun. Check out this website if you need ideas for creative hobbies.
9. Mindful Play
Playing board games, card games, video games (computer, handheld, or console), playgrounds and jungle gyms, building sandcastles, charades, splashing in puddles, telling jokes, fetch with the dog, laser pointer with the cat, doing puzzles, organized sports (soccer, football, basketball, etc.), recording a skit, watching stand up comedians, hide and seek, Lego or other building blocks, red rover, and so much more—while partaking in fun activities, allow your mental defenses to lower.
Get lost in the enjoyment or thrill of the game. Don’t worry so much about how long it takes or who will win. Let yourself laugh and smile!
10. Mindful Music
During meditation, you can choose to play simple music in the background to help increase your concentration on the present moment. Meditation and new age music is its own genre. Usually it doesn’t follow a traditional song structure and very few instruments will be used. But it is lovely for setting the mood and altering your state of consciousness.
Another mindful music exercise is selecting a specific instrument in a song (other than the vocalist) and attempting to hear only that instrument while the song is playing. It’s challenging but great for sharpening the mind!
11. Mindful Learning
No matter what topic interests you, take the time to learn about it as much as you can! You don’t need to go into massive debt to do so either. Get yourself a free library card. Read through the books that interest you the most without doing anything else on the side. Really soak up that information. Then take it a step further and share what you’ve learned with someone who is mindfully listening to you.
12. Mindful Planning
If you’re new to mindful planning, I suggest starting with just a basic calendar of some kind (digital or print, whatever floats your boat). Keep track of your obligations such as work, appointments, events, etc., as you normally would. At the start of each month, decide on a few goals you’re going to focus on that month. And as each week/day passes, plan to do things that bring you closer to those goals.
Resist the temptation to plan too far in advance. Instead put that energy into achieving your current goals for the month.
Related Article – Spiritual Bullet Journal Ideas
13. Mindful Economic Consumption
Before buying anything, ask yourself these questions first. Is there anything that you already own, or that you can borrow from someone else, that can serve the purpose you’re looking for? And if you do need to buy something, is it something you can get second hand or maybe rent instead of buy?
Next, consider what companies you are supporting when you buy things. Do your morals and ethics line up with theirs? What packaging waste does this item produce? How was it made, and who is the person that made it?
14. Mindful Career Building
This can be practiced at any stage in life. Consider what it is that you love the most in this world. Don’t allow any follow up questions right now, just think about whatever it is that you love the most. Avoid picking something like your child, parents, or siblings.
Dig deep into your soul, and discover what makes you unique. Ask yourself, “How do I want to be remembered? What do I want to leave behind? How do I want to contribute to society?” Most people have an inkling of what their soul’s purpose is. Don’t be surprised if these answers come to you very easily.
Begin to brainstorm different job opportunities that could possibly present opportunities that align with your answers. Promise yourself that you will do whatever it takes to explore all your options, and never give up the pursuit of your purpose.
15. Mindful Sharing
Make an effort to regularly donate to a cause you feel a connection to. Be sure to do plenty of research into charities before mindfully sharing your time and money with them. Make sure their mission aligns with your soul’s purpose and that they are honest about their work.
Always take care of your needs first before sharing with others. While also being aware of what you can spare for the sake of others. Be willing to welcome guests into your home, share in your first world luxuries, and your knowledge.
Of all the mindfulness exercises you can do, please make sure formal meditation is one of them. I know it can be hard to develop the mindfulness meditation habit, but no one can really afford to not learn how to quiet their mind. Otherwise, the incessant chatter in our heads will control our lives!
Related Article – How To Meditate
Thank you for reading! I hope you are inspired to bring more mindfulness into your everyday life.