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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145 comments… add one
  • Thank you for the help I’ve needed for so long! This is a gift that keeps making a difference. I am so grateful that you have taken the trouble to give clear directions to a better life.

  • Great read Henrik! To stay mindful you do need to create a habit around it. This 3 simple habits are a great start! For anyone who want to dig deeper into mindfulness I highly recommend you to read the book: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. By far the best book on mindfulness, and one that can help you to remind yourself of what mindfulness is again.

  • Audrey

    I found this article when I needed the most. I’ve been so caught up in trying to figure out/plan my future because of all the changes that are happening to me and around me. So thank you for writing about this! I’m back to being in the present moment now and feel a lot more refreshed :)

  • this are great and helpful advises that you’ve shared. I look forward to your next post :)

  • Hey Mr. Edberg, this is a great post and I think that a lot people need to be reminded of these ideas. I am only 23 and I believe that a lot of people my age seem to struggle with being in the present moment.

    While I agree with your first two steps, I am a little hesitant about the third step. Let me ask you this, would the Buddha or any great philosopher ever have tried to stop the world from going in a certain direction, e.g. would they have tried to say ‘stop!’ to all of the forces that are causing destruction in the world? In my opinion, they would accept the natural order of things and simply refocus on appreciating the present moment for what it is. With that said, using the word ‘stop!’ is a little too harsh for my taste. Instead, let me offer this: begin by recognizing your thoughts, then accept any thoughts that you are currently having, and finally let that thought slowly fade out while we refocus our attention on the present moment. This allows for a much more peaceful transition in which we are not shaming ourselves, but learning to be accepting of ourselves.

    Anyways, I appreciate the post and I am glad that we were able to connect on some of these topics! I look forward to reading your future posts.

    Kind regards,
    Daily Dudeism

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your helpful habits!

  • That article was amazing, I am very much impressed with your thoughts. I got the best information from this site of the blog, It’s very useful to all and us. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • Yes yes yes. My motto is Live Life Now. And sometimes its hard but you can’t give up! I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 38 with no family history. What was I going to do… curl up and die or fight like a girl. I fought like a girl, I beat it twice, I came out happier, more confident and I started a business and if there is an opportunity to do something, I grab it!

  • Yes! Thank you for this article! I really like tip #2 and find that it works well when dealing with emotions as well. Such as saying I am feeling [fill in the blank] to allow us to acknowledge how we really feel.

    I also wrote an article that relates to #3, regarding our thoughts.

  • Ephrem Jacob

    Thank you mr henrik I have got a step in my life wish a nice duty!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Caitlin Brooks

    The Center for Mindfulness in Massachusetts offers 8 week MBSR classes and I highly recommend it. This is where Jon Kabat-Zinn first created these courses.

  • ‘Be present’ is the advice most of us find difficult to maintain on a sustained basis. Our mind goes back and forth, and seldom right now. When we are asleep, either we see dreams by the mind with imaginary events. Dreamless sleep creates our mind remains idle. Our mind is the spirit which can travel in the speed of light or may be higher. We must be able to control it naturally and appreciate the benefits. Forcefully controlling mind may be counter productive. However, we must practice it creatively. Regards

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