Practicing mindfulness in our day-to-day lives is the key to boosting our happiness and well-being.
As we go through the motions of our day, we are rarely fully present in the task at hand.
For instance, when we’re taking a shower are we intently focused on the feeling of the water on our skin or the smell of that lavender soap?
In reality, our minds are most likely wandering. Whether it’s planning out our day or revisiting an old conversation, there’s a slim chance we are completely focused on the task at hand.
Maybe that’s why I forgot to shampoo my hair today…
Anyway, Harvard research backs up this assumption. According to their study, our minds are wandering almost 50% of the time we are awake.
That’s an incredibly high percentage of our lives that we seemingly miss out on.
On the flip side, the scientifically proven benefits of mindfulness (which is the opposite of brain wandering) are growing larger every year.
They include things like increased quality of life, reduced stress, improved relationships, better memory, and an overall increase in cognitive function.
So, here are three ways you can start practicing mindfulness every day.
Notice when you become distracted and shift your attention back to the present.
Every single time you notice your focus has drifted from the present is an opportunity to strengthen your muscle of attention. And attention is like a muscle. The more you exercise it the stronger it becomes.
Even just the act of noticing your own distraction is a huge step towards becoming mindful.
To take it a step further try this. Pick one simple action you do several times a day: for example, standing up from a seated position.
Now, make it a point that every time you stand up, you will remind yourself to be more present. Even if it is just for a few seconds, this is a perfect place to start strengthening your muscle of attention.
Use your senses!
Noticing what you see, hear, smell, and feel is a great way to immerse yourself in the present moment. Taste is great too, but don’t go around tasting everything 😝.
When you notice you’re distracted, try listing things in your head that you can see, hear, and smell. After practicing this for a while, you will find yourself automatically noticing things that you normally would not.
Listen to understand, not to respond
When having a conversation, it’s natural to focus on a small part of what the other person is saying, and then begin to formulate a response while they are still talking.
Make it a point to listen completely to what the other person is saying. Take control of your wandering mind and focus as intently as you can and only think of a response once they have finished speaking.
Being mindful is not magic, but neither is it a coincidence.
It’s the result of small, conscious activities that lead to a more clear, focused mind.
And while these little exercises might not sound like a big deal, practicing mindfulness regularly will have a massive effect on your wellbeing, relationships, and ultimately on your happiness in life.
If you would like to try a guided mindfulness practice, we created one just for our readers. Click here to try it for free.