You cook breakfast, prepare the kids for school, return to do laundry or go to work, pick up the kids from school, think about grocery shopping, and all the other things on your to-do list. As these things become like an endless loop going on day in and day out, you can easily become disconnected from your thoughts. You may even find yourself doing the dishes without thinking about it. It’s your brain trying to deal with the stress of having so much going on. Building mindfulness is a way to combat stress, stay focused on your present, and connect with yourself and your environment.
Mindfulness does not only promote mental clarity and self-control; it also reduces stress and anxiety and boosts overall well-being. Building mindfulness can make your life feel happier and more balanced as you gain control of everything going on around you.
However, you enjoy the benefits of mindfulness as often as you practice it. So why not practice it daily?
If you often feel stressed because of the many tasks and thoughts running through your mind, building mindfulness into your daily routine can help you regain control.
And the good news is you don’t have to set aside 10 or 30 minutes to breathe in and out every day. You can build mindfulness into your daily activities and make it a habit.
So, how do you go about that?
Ever realised you were doing something without knowing how you started it? Or perhaps you went into the kitchen and completely forgot why you went there. It’s because you weren’t mindful.
Try building mindfulness by repeating to yourself your current action. For example, tell yourself, “I’m brushing my teeth,” “I’m walking to the kitchen, or “I’m washing the dishes.”
This will help you stay in the present and prevent a multitude of thoughts from distracting you, causing you to forget where you are or what you’re doing.
One way to build mindfulness into your day is to label negative thoughts.
Just try to stop whatever you’re doing and observe your thoughts for a moment. Catch yourself in the act!
Whenever you discover yourself thinking something negative about yourself, name it. By so doing, you’ll realise if you’ve been judgmental, pessimistic, or expressing some other form of undesirable emotions. And when you discover that, let go of the thought and open your mind towards positivity.
Another step to building mindfulness is to focus on your breathing.
The breathing exercise is a simple yet powerful way to bring your attention to the present.
Of course, you breathe without consciousness — you even breathe while asleep. But by deliberately focusing on it, your mind comes back to the present, especially when you’ve been distracted.
To do this trick, take five deep breaths in and out and focus on your inhale and exhale. Count the breaths if that helps you maintain stillness.
Many of us eat without thinking about it. That’s one of the major causes of binge eating.
If you often watch movies and binge eat while at it, mindfulness can help you curb that challenge.
Notice the texture, savour the flavours, and chew slowly whenever you’re eating. Be present. Enjoy each chew rather than gobble down the morsels as you chat on.
In the same vein, you can build mindfulness into your daily routine by observing the sounds all around you. The chirping of the birds, the creek of the rusty gate, and the hush of the wind. Tune into the different sound waves and frequencies and Connect with your surroundings.
We often feel caught up in our own thoughts and anxieties. There’s a presentation to prepare, documents to file, laundry to do, and perhaps a health condition to battle. All of these can leave one frustrated and lost in thought.
But you can take back control by bringing your senses back to your surroundings. Notice the shapes around you and name them. Describe them with words like, “a big red box, brown square table, blue satin dress, etc. Do so until you feel a sense of calm.
This is a very simple way to build mindfulness into your activities as you detract yourself from anxious thoughts to the present situation.