11 Hacks to Make Mindfulness EasyWritten by Gavin Humphreys
In a world where we are bombarded by non-stop news bulletins, we face a pandemic threat, panic in society, and everything seems too much to cope with, mindfulness can overpower stress and fear.
These easy hacks make it more accessible and actionable.
Mindfulness benefits physical and mental health, yet not everybody knows what mindfulness is.
What is mindfulness?
When you are in the present moment, appreciating what you hear, touch, smell, taste, and see - then you are practicing mindfulness.
I prefer the French term, which is more descriptive: pleine conscience. This literally translates as, full awareness, and that’s what it’s about - being completely conscious and aware of everything around you.
It is leaving to one side the memories and regrets of the past, and packing away the worries, fears, and ambitions for the future. You are here and now, with the world and people around you.
The advantages are great - you are less likely to feel stress or worries. This will help prevent burnout and more serious illnesses down the line. You can focus more.
You will also find that compassion and gratitude increases, and relationships will benefit.
For the logical brain, it also makes a lot of sense - because the only thing you can influence is here and now, the past and the future only exist in our imagination.
11 Easy Hacks
Yes, lotus-position meditation, going on retreats, and having your own personal mindfulness guru is all great, but sometimes - especially under the current circumstances - we need hacks to help be mindful in our everyday circumstances.
Here are eleven ways you can easily make mindfulness a part of your life, without changing a thing.
1. Leave notes everywhere
Stick post-it notes around your house or your workspace to remind you to bring your attention back to the here and now. On your bathroom mirror, the kitchen cupboards, above your computer, anywhere.
They can say, breathe, or smile, or you are here, or listen - anything to remind you to be in the moment.
2. Bells and whistles
You can also use triggers to bring yourself back to the moment. If you have ever done traditional meditation you will know they use prayer bells to do just this, but you can use any sound which you hear through the day to remind you to take a breath.
When the phone rings, for example, stop. Focus on your breathing for at least three seconds before answering.
You can do the same every time you get a ping from a message. You can also use car horns, dogs barking, or other repetitive sounds you hear from outside the window.
3. Focus on your tea
Every time you go and get a tea, a glass of water, some juice - don’t do it on autopilot.
Instead, focus on taking the teabag, putting it in the cup, the way the water splashes. Then come back to the moment every time you take a sip.
Do the same with snacks or meals. Pizza meditation can really be a thing!
*You could do this with your cup of coffee, but, to be honest, a bonus tip to make mindfulness easier is to cut down the caffeine - it just makes the mind too bouncy.
4. Get arty
Art can be a way to focus your mind. It can be with watercolors, oils, or as simple as doodling and letting your mind flow!
5. Martial arts
Martial arts, when done right, are exercise and meditation - two birds with one stone.
Whether karate, aikido, kung fu, or tai chi, they should make you more mindful, and at the same time, mindfulness will make you a better sportsperson.
6. Deep breathing
If things are getting on top of you, focus on your breath. It’s that easy. Notice how the air flows in and out.
There are lots of breathing techniques out there to research - but you can’t get much easier than noticing how you breathe.
7. Do the chores
We all have to do chores - washing up, ironing, walking the dog, polishing your shoes - instead of dreading them, love them. This is a chance to focus on what you are doing and forget the worries of the day.
8. Aarghhh moments
Your computer freezes. You drop your lunch on the floor. The toilet paper aisle is cleared in the supermarket. You want to scream! You are very lucky.
You have a wonderful opportunity to bring yourself back to the moment, breathe, and practice compassion and mindfulness.
9. Enjoy nature and the weather
Nature is all around us, but we so often don’t see it. Appreciate the trees, the birds, the rain on your face. Even in the middle of the city, or in your apartment, be at one with your basil plant! Take time to be in the moment with nature.
10. Turn off devices
Another an easy-peasy hack. Our minds get taken up by news on the TV and our social media feeds. Cut them out, especially for the two or three hours before bed. You will find that this time is much more peaceful and a great chance to distress and spend time with other people and your own thoughts.
11. Compassionate listening
A final easy hack to practicing mindfulness is to listen. When people are stressed and want to let it out, when they are making idol chit-chat, it doesn’t matter - just listen.
Don’t jump in with the witty riposte, or that thing you want off your chest. Put all your attention in listening to that person and be in the moment.
In the moment
With these eleven hacks, it is easy to bring yourself back to the here and now throughout your day. It doesn’t matter how busy you are.
Perhaps at the end of every article, or blog, that you read online - that could be your cue to stop for a few seconds and bring your attention to your breath. Try it!
If you have any hacks of your own, share them with us below. A more mindful world is a happier and more peaceful world.