5 Ways To Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness is something I strive for; however, with my ongoing to-do list, taking care of my family and working full time, it can be challenging to stay present with each task at hand. I used to have a formal meditation practice prior to having kids; and I woke up at 530am every day to sit and watch my breath for 20 minutes. Now my boys naturally wake up around 530am so I need to make my meditation part of my daily life which is pretty much where mindfulness practice can take place.
Staying fully present when I play with my boys; and stopping to watch my breath as I unload the dishwasher are simple ways for me to stay mindful. I am fortunate to have a job where I teach yoga and meditation, so I also have built in hours in my day where I am extremely mindful. Even as a yoga teacher, though, I can easily find myself thinking about the future or ruminating over the past. Here are some things I’ve found that personally help remind me to be more mindful in EVERY moment.
Meditation Cushion or Blanket
Meditation is a great way to stay mindful, centered and calm. Just like you need a proper bed for a good night’s sleep, a meditation cushion or specific blanket that you use to sit on can be helpful for establishing a consistent practice. I have a special blanket I keep folded on the couch that I place on the floor and sit up on when I meditate. Invest in a meditation cushion if you want to go one step further. Having a physical item that reminds you to “just be” will help you make time for meditation and remind you to be more mindful.
Starting each day and ending each night with a positive affirmation is a great way to maintain a mindful routine. You’ll not only become aware of your thoughts, words, and feelings; it will also allow you to reduce the risk of letting negativity seep in. Daily affirmations can be single words or little phrases that you link to your breath. Inhale, “my heart is open”, exhale, “my heart is free”, is one of my favorites. You can also just quietly repeat to yourself, “be here now”, when you find your mind wandering throughout the day.
Connecting with nature helps you unplug and become more mindful of your environment.
Being in nature or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases more pleasant feelings. It’s said that spending more time in nature not only makes you feel better emotionally: but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing and can even reduce your blood pressure.
Making time for nature is making time for mindfulness in your busy life, it can help you slow down and feel more grounded.
Never underestimate the power of writing things down. Try to wake up 15 minutes earlier than normal to fit in a quick journaling session; or set time aside in the evening to write things down. Write down a positive affirmation, 3 things you are thankful for or1 3 things you are excited about. This is such a simple exercise but really has a huge impact on your mood.
Journalling will help you have a mindful moment right first thing in the morning to start your day on a positive note; or remind you to take some time to truly connect with yourself before you go to bed at night.
Yoga is like a moving meditation or mindfulness in motion. When you step on your mat, you connect your mind and your body through you breath. You also take time to notice your entire body and how it feels. So often we are disconnected from our bodies and minds. For some great yoga flows, check out Peloton and invest in a subscription that will make every work out from home feel like you’re part of a class. I’d love to see you on the mat!
These tips can help you keep a mindfulness routine and stay more present. I hope they help and that you find the positivity in every day and you find many mindful moments in 2020!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!