When prioritizing our jobs, relationships, and well-being, we often put ourselves last. However, when we don’t prioritize our own joy, our other priorities end up suffering as well.
It seems normal to constantly have a million thoughts running through our minds, but our bodies aren’t meant to work this way. Stress, anxiety, and depression have become a normal part of our lives, so much that many people don’t know when they’re experiencing symptoms of these negative states of being.
Slowing down to think about where we are and how we feel in the moment is the best way to challenge the non-stop treadmill that we’re on. Slowing down happens from the inside out, so mindfulness plays a large part in avoiding the hustle and prioritizing our health, comfort, and happiness.
Only you know what constitutes your well-being, and practicing mindfulness habits is the best way to land into a peaceful rhythm and enhance your quality of life.
What Is Mindfulness?
Simply put, mindfulness involves being fully present and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions in the moment. The key to mindfulness is not being overly reactive, ridding yourself of all judgment and interpretation, instead just letting yourself be. As a result, you’ll find that you respond to your environment differently and feel more grounded.
Mindfulness contributes to a satisfied life. When you’re mindful, you’ll find that you’re better able to enjoy the little things in life. A walk around the block will feel more fulfilling, your simple weeknight dinner will be more satisfying, your relationships improve, and you’ll find joy in places that you’d never thought about.
If all of this sounds unfamiliar to you, don’t feel discouraged. The good news is that, as humans, we’re all capable of mindfulness. You’re probably already practicing mindfulness every day. Every time you bring awareness to what you’re experiencing at the moment, you’re being mindful. Every time that you think about what you’re feeling in the moment, you’re being mindful.
Unfortunately, you won’t become entirely mindful overnight. Mindfulness requires practice and daily habits to become fully instilled in your life. By adding a few mindfulness habits into your routine, you’ll find that with each new day, you’re more mindful than the last.
The Benefits of Mindfulness Habits
Since mindfulness comes naturally to us, it isn’t something that we should reject or suppress. It’s a part of being human that we should most embrace as it helps us understand ourselves, others, and the world around us.
Practicing mindfulness improves your overall quality of life. Mindfulness habits have the power to transform individual aspects of your life that contribute to how you view and feel about yourself.
Some of the top benefits of mindfulness include:
- Reducing stress
- Improving health
- Increasing our well-being and happiness
1. Stress Less
Mindfulness gives you control over your body, so you’re better able to control how you respond to your environment as well as your own feelings.
One of the greatest benefits of mindfulness is the ability to modify your body’s response to stress in a positive, productive, and fulfilling way. When you’re in a high-pressure situation, instead of automatically reverting to stress, mindful habits give you space to respond to the situation in a way that keeps you calm and in control. When this happens, you become more aware of why you respond in the way you do and become open to more solutions.
Reducing your stress level often leads to a domino effect that sees improvements in other aspects of both your mind and body.
2. Live a Healthier Life
Another beneficial consequence of mindfulness habits is living a healthier life.
Since mindfulness involves looking within, mindfulness habits naturally improve your mental health. Mindfulness gives you a grasp on your emotions, and you’ll learn how to address them without judgment and respond in a way that makes you comfortable. What’s more, your overall attitude to stressful situations changes for the positive.
Mindful habits also help treat more serious and long-term problems beyond day-to-day emotions. For example, one of the most common mindfulness habits, meditation, has been said to treat several problems, including:
- Substance abuse
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
Mindful habits don’t only improve your mental health. When you relieve stress and get your mental state in a positive place, you’ll find that your physical health improves as well. Adding mindful habits to your lifestyle can result in:
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced chronic pain
- Improved sleep
- Better digestion
3. Improve Your Well-being and Happiness
Experiencing less stress and improving your physical and mental health is a recipe for improving your well-being and increasing your happiness.
Through mindfulness habits, you find more joy in the things you love and even discover new pleasures in life. You may not even notice it at first, but you might look forward to the future a little more than you used to, with added optimism and joy.
You can experience these benefits by adding just a few mindfulness habits to your routine.
9 Mindfulness Habits
Mindful habits are personal, but a few of them can help you increase mindfulness and live a healthier life.
Some habits require a more consistent awareness throughout your day-to-day life and may take a while to feel natural. However, for many habits you only need a few minutes a day, so you can easily add them to your daily routine.
If you find that one habit isn’t working out for you, don’t worry. Try out as many as you wish to see which ones best help you achieve your desired state of mindfulness.
Prioritize Your Emotions
We often don’t pay enough attention to our own emotions. Extreme emotions, such as anger, are easier to recognize, but mindfulness requires being aware of all of your emotions, no matter how insignificant they may feel in the moment.
Every time you feel overcome with emotion, slow down to think. Focus on your mind to understand how you’re feeling in that moment. Identify the emotion you’re feeling and address it without judgment. It’s important to recognize emotions such as:
From there, you’ll know how to respond in a way that’s conducive to your mental health and well-being. Not only will you be able to better respond to the situation that made you feel that way, but you’ll also be able to respond to the environment and the people around you.
Meditation is one of the most common and well-known mindfulness habits, and there’s a good reason for that.
Some people describe meditation as the embodiment of mindfulness. After all, the process of meditating is rooted in the act of taking time to connect your mind and body and become present in the moment.
Meditation isn’t straightforward. Since it’s most often practiced alone, everyone will experience meditation differently. Because it’s such a deeply personal experience, the way that one person meditates may not be the best way for you to experience mindfulness. There are many different ways to meditate, and there are even different types of meditation.
For the most part, mindfulness meditation sees you focusing on your thoughts as they pass through your head. The key is to concentrate and remain aware, observing aspects of your thoughts, emotions, and body while letting your breathing guide you.
Do you feel like meditation is too much for you? You can still take one piece of this mindfulness technique and reap the benefits. All you have to do is slow down and take a breath.
Controlled breathing is one of the simplest and most powerful mindfulness habits to add to your daily routine. Bringing awareness to your breathing benefits both your mental and physical health. Controlled breathing relieves stress and tension, calming you down while grounding yourself in the moment.
Start by sitting still and noticing your breath. The goal isn’t to change it, but to recognize the natural flow of your breath. Feel the sensation of the air entering and exiting your nostril, then on the sounds that you’re making. Feel the rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and exhale, feeling the stress leave your body and become present in the moment.
Take a few minutes out of your day to practice controlled breathing, and you’ll find yourself practicing mindfulness throughout the day. If you feel like you aren’t getting to your desired state of mind with regular controlled breathing, there are several other breathing techniques to try.
Even if you are trying to live a slower life, exercise plays an important role in your well-being. Many mindfulness habits require minimal movement to focus on your thoughts, but you can experience mindfulness while moving your body.
You don’t need to change your exercise routine completely. On the contrary, you can do some of your favorite exercises mindfully. You’ll probably get more out of your workout if you do.
We often distract ourselves while we work out, whether it’s through music or watching TV, but we should be more connected to our bodies while we work out. Being mindful while working out helps connect your mind and body and focus on the movements you’re doing. A mindful workout can also reduce stress, improve your form, and, overall, make you feel better during and after your workout.
Yoga is one of the most mindful activities you can do, as the goal is to focus on your mind and gain a deeper connection to yourself while using your breath for guidance.
That said, you must engage in physical activities that bring you joy. Whether it’s going for a short stroll or doing a few stretches, doing these activities mindfully will bring you more joy.
Experience Each Sense
The thoughts formed in our mind often result from our senses and what they are experiencing at the time. So focusing on your senses can be a part of practicing mindfulness.
Pointing your attention to your different senses helps ground you even more in the moment. There are several times throughout the day when your senses call your attention, and observing those instances helps you stay in that moment.
Here are a few tips to help you better experience each of your senses:
- Notice all of your body’s movements, from a simple itch to the clearing of your throat.
- Slow down when you eat or drink to experience the taste and texture of what you’re eating. Try noticing your sense of taste throughout the day, even when you aren’t eating, and observe how it changes.
- Cry whenever you feel it necessary. Crying connects our emotions, thoughts, and physical selves. Releasing these emotions is sometimes what you need to rejuvenate and bring yourself back to the present.
Take in Your Environment
Although a lot of mindfulness includes focusing inwards, you can also experience mindfulness by first taking notice of your environment.
Taking in your environment is a great way to keep yourself in the moment. Observe everything going on around you; however, just like you do with your thoughts, don’t apply judgment to what you see, smell, or hear. The goal is to observe things as they should be.
Spending time outdoors is a great way to experience mindfulness in this way, and it doesn’t require much. Connect with nature at your own pace. If going on a day-long hike in the mountains is what you need, take the time to do that and allow your mind to let go while you experience the nature around you. In other situations, laying in the grass and feeling the sunlight on your skin might be enough to have you experience mindfulness.
As we’re so used to counting everything wrong throughout the day and finding problems to solve, gratitude is something we often forget. However, practicing gratitude is a mindfulness habit that can help improve our mental health and relationships with others.
Practicing gratitude helps you appreciate the little moments and pay more attention to them as they happen. Be gracious when someone gives you a compliment, no matter how insignificant it may seem, or when it’s a warm sunny day. You’ll find yourself more present at that moment, and the effects will be evident. Gratitude makes you view things in a new light, one that’s positive and keeps you grounded.
Keep a Journal
Some people feel better when they write their thoughts down on paper, and you can apply this to mindfulness as well.
Journaling is a great mindfulness habit that helps you stay aware of what’s happening in your life, from your environment to your thoughts. When you write your thoughts down in a journal, it’s easier to detach from them and see them for what they are.
Journaling also relieves stress, views things from a different perspective, and helps you see the bigger picture. You may find that something that seemed very significant before you wrote it down becomes less significant on paper. As a result, it occupies less space in your mind.
Journaling is a deeply personal experience considering that only you’re meant to read it, and there are many different ways to journal. You can make it a habit and do it first thing when you wake up or make it the last thing you do when you go to bed. You can choose to journal daily, weekly, or simply whenever you feel like it.
Know When to Let Go
Knowing when to let go is one of the most difficult mindfulness habits to instill within yourself. You might even argue that this is more of a lesson rather than a habit. But understanding when it’s time to let something go breaks down the barrier between you and your thoughts.
Letting go of stress creates inner stability and makes it easier to ground yourself. Let go of the tasks that cause you to stress, the stories you make up about yourself, and even the items that clutter your home. When you let go, you make more space for yourself, and you’re better able to focus on your thoughts—identifying them and addressing them.
Mindful Habits: Finding Joy in Yourself
Achieving mindfulness isn’t necessarily easy. Mindfulness requires you to be aware of your thoughts at the moment, which can be a challenge for people whose lives are always on the move. Luckily, we’re all capable of mindfulness, but the busy lives we live make it more difficult to achieve an entirely mindful state.
Implementing mindfulness habits can help you get to a mindful state and let go of stress and negativity. You won’t turn into the most mindful person overnight, but if you keep up with healthy habits, you’ll see that you’re better prepared to react to whatever life throws at you.