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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.”
Buddha

“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.

  • You’re my best motivator

  • The quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn really resonated with me, mindfulness equates to being awake. So the more mindful we are, the more we are awake, which is my goal in life!

    It allows us to, at minimum experience our true nature for a few moments at a time and avoid the things that you talked about, like being less effective and missing out on life.

    Its so simple, we as humans are truly way more happy in the present, and it feels so much more natural, but how, in your opinion do you think we have gotten to the point where we are stuck in the future or past, when we know, consciously or subconsciously that it is really hurting us?

    Would love to hear your opinion my friend.

    Best,

    Chris

  • Hey Henrick,
    This is really a nice and inspiring post. You are an amazing person, writer, and a motivator. Your writing can light up anybody’s mood and confidence. so keep up the good work and keep writing a post like this.
    Best wishes and regards
    Monika Satyawali

  • Seriously, love this one! I too think about my past or worry to much about my future sometime. Now, whenever I will start thinking about my past, I will try to shout NO! Let’s see what will be the results.
    Anyways thanks for this article.

    • i really like it, a person my know what to do and whats is best for he/she but sometimes they need to share there feelings and situation. so if we have topics like this we totally can control our selves so that y i always want to read more about even buy books.

  • Melanie Gay

    Hi Henrick,
    This is one of my favorite posts so far. I will save it and come back to it as a frequent reminder. I especially like the idea of a stop-word. Thank you!

  • Peggy Jondahl

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

    This phrase captured exactly where I was at the moment I was reading it. Sometimes letting go is difficult to do but it helps to have tools to work with. Thank you

  • Anonymous

    Now I am! When distractive thoughts comes to your mind delete and get back to the present time now!

  • michael

    Thank you!

    Your writes are very helpful.

    Thank you again!

  • Roxana

    Good reminder
    It is so easy to fall back into old habits.
    Thank you

  • gemma

    Thank you! May God above bless you more!

  • Ali

    Fabulous. Every blog from this Site is Super, gives me Super mind
    .

  • James Browning

    Happiness is what many people want to achieve. However, finding out what really makes us happy and how to feel happier is not an easy journey.

    Here’s my top suggestions:

    Do one nice thing for yourself daily.

    1.) How about taking some time everyday to do nice things for yourself?

    Either you get yourself a small treat by buying yourself a nice cup of espresso at your favorite coffee shop or taking a 30 minute to an hour nap before going out to do your adult stuff.

    If you start doing nice things for yourself and taking care of yourself, you’ll find the feeling of fullness and happiness and should be able to help others.

    2.) Forgive yourself!

    Forgiveness plays a big part in being happy!

    There are times that we don’t really think of forgiving ourselves.

    But little did we know we often criticize ourselves and it brings down our confidence level.

    Loving yourself for who you are means accepting yourself.

    3.) Be kind to someone

    Why does being kind to someone is one way of being happy?

    Showing gratitude to others can be easy and quick, most inexpensive ways to keep anxiety at bay.

    You are most likely causing them to smile and if you see that smile for yourself, you know that you made someone happy and you made yourself happy.

    4.) Rise above troubled times and vibrate with positivity http://yournewlife.ml

  • Anonymous

    Dear Henrik,
    You’re a great writer. I’ve been reading your posts for over 3 months now, and following every step of it.
    I’m constantly combating mental stress, unnecessarily, every single day.
    The only things that keep me sane are my children and your posts, these help me win my everyday situations.
    Thank-you so much for making life easy for me and many others.
    God bless you.
    Warm regards,
    Fabiana