Easy ways to practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity and without judgement.

Person colouring a lantern.

Taking time to be more mindful of your everyday experiences can help you regulate emotions and manage destructive thoughts. Here are some easy ways to incorporate mindful practice into your daily routine.

Ground yourself: Connect to the present moment by pausing and looking around you. Ask yourself – what are five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

Try yoga: Yoga is great for reducing stress and helping you to relax. Studies show regular practice improves your coordination, reaction time and memory. Yoga’s focus on breath and simple meditation helps you to connect to the present moment.

Breathe in: Stop what you are doing throughout the day and really take time to breathe. Take a deep breath in through your nose, concentrating on the sensation of air coming into your body. Feel the air fill your lungs, and pause before pushing it back out slowly through your mouth.

Savour the flavour: The next time you sit down for a meal, take a moment to enjoy all the flavours and textures of the food you are eating. The first time you do this, simply take note of the initial mouthful. At the next meal, take time to think about the first two mouthfuls. Carry on this way at each meal until mindful eating becomes a part of your everyday routine.

Be grateful: Practicing gratitude can help you manage anxiety and depression. Write down one thing that makes you happy, or that you feel grateful for, every morning and notice how much brighter your days seem as a result.

Listen to friends: Ask your friends and family what the best part of their day was, and really listen to what they have to say. Make sure you are not distracted by your phone or other technology, and give some thought to other people’s emotional state.

Try an app: Mindfulness can be hard at the beginning. It’s a skill, which is great, as it means you can practice and get better at it.

There are some really good apps available that help you develop your mindfulness skills. Try HeadspaceSimple Habit and Smiling Minds, or head to mindful.org for a list of other apps.