Mindfulness and meditation are no longer just trendy buzzwords but proven health practices with a dedicated line-up of high profile practitioners including Jennifer Aniston, Gisele Bündchen, Katy Perry and Lena Dunham. Despite the long list of benefits (think increased happiness, reduced stress, greater productivity and increased self awareness) it can still feel really hard to squeeze it into your day. Here’s why we have to start making space for it.
A study released by Deloitte, found that Americans in the 25-34 age bracket look at their devices on average 50 times per day. We are more connected than ever and it is having a serious impact on our health and wellness. One in 6 youth will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life, with rates of anxiety and depression increasing by 70 percent over the past 25 years. A recent Mashable study found that Instagram is the most damaging social network to young people’s mental wellbeing, causing feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.
Long story short, if we truly want to connect to better health, wellness and peace of mind we have to learn how to disconnect, in more ways than one. Here are 5 tips to incorporate more mindfulness into your busy day.
Carve out phone free time.
I know, I know, you hate this already. But hear me out. We’re addicted to all the little notifications on our phone which is driving us to look at it multiple times every hour. Each time we do it pulls us out of the moment, breaking our concentration and leaving us momentarily disconnected. That disconnection is partially to blame for those side effects we’re not big fans of – depression, anxiety, the “not enough” feelings, etc.
Try setting some healthy guidelines for phone-free time every day. I like to wait at least 15 minutes in the morning before picking up my phone. Instead I use that time to do a quick yoga practice, actually connect with my husband or breathe deeply and set an intention for the day. When I get home from work I hide my phone somewhere so that all my attention goes to my son until he goes to bed. Even if I’m making dinner and he’s watching a show I keep it away to give myself some time to disconnect. For optimal productivity and mindfulness in the office, Darren Hardy recommends carving out ‘Power Hours’ when you don’t check your phone, email, Google alerts etc. and instead you just get down to business. A different kind of mindfulness but for anyone who wishes they were more productive this will be a game changer for you.
Get help connecting to your breath and your body.
When you are starting out, it can be really helpful to follow a guided meditation. Headspace, Calm and Stop, Breathe, Think all offer free trial sessions so that you can determine which one works best for you. You can also try our free Mind, Body, Soul Scan as a way to check in with your body.
Use a daily ritual as a reminder to get mindful.
Meditation guru, Chrissy Abram of Eastwood Meditate recommends putting your toothpaste on your toothbrush and then going to do your meditation before you finish brushing your teeth. Use common daily activities as an anchor to remind yourself to get mindful. Below are a couple other ideas, but if all else fails set a timer on your phone and when it goes off, stop what you are doing and connect to your breath.
- Put your coffee on then meditate for 5 minutes before you get to drink it,
- Drive home from work, park and then meditate for 10 minutes in the car before you carry on with the day,
- Before you grab your phone when you wake-up, meditate for 15 minutes and set your intention for the day.
Make routine activities an opportunity to get mindful.
Prepping food, showering, driving to work, eating a meal, washing dishes, taking off your make-up at the end of the day. There are a million daily moments that we don’t really ‘live’ because we are stuck in our head or already thinking about the next moment. Want to really start living? Try using these simple moments to practice mindfulness. Simply connect to your breath and notice the air moving in and out of your throat & belly as you complete the activity. What are you feeling in your body? If thoughts start to carry your mind away, gently bring your awareness back to your breath again. Notice the sights, the sounds, the textures, the smells, the way the light is moving RIGHT IN THE MOMENT.
Use an “anchor” to help you connect to your practice.
Sometimes physical items can make meditation or mindfulness just a little more special and can help elevate the experience so it becomes more appealing. Light your favourite candle, spray a calming mist or create a beautiful meditation/mindfulness nook in your home that helps transport you to a place of calm.
Being more mindful doesn’t have to take up hours of your day and it doesn’t have to cost a dime. Give it a try and then tell us how you’ve incorporated it into your routine in the comment section below.