3 Simple Habits for Daily Mindfulness

3 Simple Habits for Daily Mindfulness

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn

One of the most common habits that make life miserable is to not be where you are.

What do I mean by that?

That your body is right here, right now. But that your thoughts are elsewhere in time and space.

They are in the past, reliving an old, painful memory. Or replaying an argument – that you still want to win – for the hundredth time.

Or your thoughts are in a possible future. Worried and stressed about what may happen at work or in your relationship. Or trying to plan for every possible scenario and through that hoping to fully control the future.

And the more time you spend in the future or past, the more you – in my experience – tend to also:

  • Be ineffective. Making decisions becomes very hard if you second-guess yourself all the time or become paralyzed by all the possible outcomes. And overthinking zaps so much energy that you lose motivation to take action.
  • Miss life as it happens. If you are not fully here in this moment then it is very easy to miss and to not fully enjoy a victory or simply a beautiful, fun or small moment in life.

Maybe you cannot spend all of your time in the now. Because there are things you can learn from reexamining your past. And there are things you sometimes need to plan for in your future.

But the kind of obsessive or addictive way to spend so much time in a regular week in the past or future can be replaced with something smarter, more helpful and happiness-friendly.

Three habits that have helped me a lot to make that shift into being much more mindful are to:

1. Slow down.

Start your day with doing whatever you do first in your morning slowly.

This will make it easier and more natural to keep a slower pace and to focus fully on what you are doing for the rest of your morning.

And starting your day in this way will often prevent you from going into your own most common thought loops that cause worry, anger or sadness.

Plus, doing something in a calm and relaxed manner is often the quickest way to do something well.

And you can of course slow down what you are doing at any time during your day to get your mind back to what your body is doing.

2. Tell yourself: Now I am…

I often tell myself this silently in my mind: Now I am X.

And X could be that I am brushing my teeth. Doing the dishes. Taking a walk and listening to the sounds around me.

Just reminding myself of this helps my mind to stop wandering and it brings my focus back to just that one thing I am doing right now and nothing else.

3. Disrupt your thoughts + quickly reconnect with the here and now.

If you are a regular reader then you know that I like to use a stop-word or phrase to silence the inner critic.

This works well for getting back to the present moment too.

When you catch yourself going somewhere else in the past or future with your thoughts then – in your mind – shout: STOP!

Or: No, no, no, we are not going down that road again!

Then, right away after you have disrupted those thoughts find your way back to the present moment by either focusing only on what is going on around you right now with all your senses – the sights, the sounds, the smells and so on – or by focusing 100% on your breaths going in and out of your body.

Do either of those things for just 1-2 minutes.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mavengere Tafadzwa

    wow, this is awesome. To me the first thing when I wake up is to pray for my day.

  • Interesting and inspirational article! Daily mindfulness is necessary to be successful because without inspiration and self analysis we can’t take the right step towards right path.

  • dana

    thank you for this, am going to try some of these suggestions as I think they will work for me, just what I needed this morning.

  • I agree how you start your day makes all the difference and can set the tone for the rest of your day. When I start my day without heading straight online, sipping a hot drink, meditating and stretching I feel so much more present, grounded and peaceful. It definitely works.

  • pradeep

    Good .Inspiring Thought

  • Love the Jon Kabat-Zinn quote.

    Slowing down is powerful. Thanks for the reminder.
    I like the now I am idea. It’s great, I’ll try it tonight when I brush my teeth ;-)

    Keep up your work, Henrik. Thanks!

  • angge

    wow. there were times that i’m pretty excited to think of my future plans and forgetting that i’m here for today. well, this article is a simple reminder to live in the present. thanks for sharing this henrik. :)

  • Amy

    I love reading your posts to your blog! I strive to be positive in my daily life; however, there are times when the condition of our present world makes me feel much different.

    I feel my actions are outwardly positive . . . while my thoughts tend to go sour, remembering past hurts, even current hurts. Understanding I can only change my thoughts and behaviors, I have created boundaries for my own protection, my family’s protection and my mental health.

    After reading an earlier post, you had mentioned . . . tell yourself ‘STOP’ when you feel your mind is starting to go negative. I have used your advice, and it’s been working well for me. Too much of my time was wasted on negative thoughts . . . thoughts that do not help me move forward to a healing place. Thank you for writing your ‘Positivity Blog’ . . I look forward to opening my email and seeing your posts.

  • Ishu

    I really liked this article… I ‘ll try all your suggestions ..

  • Rumana

    I read your blog regularly and am always waiting new mails wherein you motivate your readers. Thank you vety much it really helps a lot.

  • sue

    Love these articles. I am a overthinker and these are good practices for me.

  • These is really good thank Henrik… Now I know how to start my day beside praying….

  • #2 is one I haven’t heard of before – but it makes total sense. I tend to get mostly stuck in the future, because thats ALL my grandpa ever talks about. How important it is to make money, and that money is your only friend, etc. I totally disagree, but it still gets to me. And at the moment, I’m not on a particularly promising path (I’m going to school for something I don’t want to do, and studying what I do want to do in my free-time). Thanks for this :) I’m actually really blessed that I found this post, as well as your blog.

  • Lanora

    So helpful to understand too much dwelling the past and future can be a hindrance to self growth and being ineffective….
    Slow paced to set your day is great and a wonderful reminder…..
    Thank you, i enjoy the positivityblog!!!

  • Tammy B

    Very good read! I needed this, as I often find myself jumping forward and thinking of my next 2-3 tasks. The current moments then flash past me as I become a robot in the here and now. Yep, slowing down, looking around and reminding myself of where I need to be is “Great Advice”.
    Thank you so much!

    Wishing you a wonderful day.