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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147 comments… add one
  • Thank you for writing this!

    I love point #1 because often I find that whenever I’m overwhelmed at work, all I have to do is to just slow down and move at a comfortable pace.

    Life is a marathon anyway and there’s really no point in me rushing through it while being constantly stressed.

  • Susan

    I really love reading the blogs. I’ve learned a lot these past few years from it and taught myself how to be really happy again. I don’t let the small stuff or people bother me like I did. I mindfully talk to my self inside to remind me of such things. You have to want it, or it won’t work at all. Thank you for sharing the wisdom. I’m very appreciative to have found this site when I did! Thank you!! -Susan

    • rosemelvin

      My favorite dialogue that you always use is…….
      No no, we are not going down that road again…
      And you know what it helped me sooo much…. :-)

    • rosemelvin

      Hey Susan.,
      Can you share some of the blogs that you browse… I just can find some on my own.. Please….. ?

  • make my day to focus on present moment.
    keep up the good work Henrik!

  • Its funny that “pay attention” can used in another context. One can think of actually “paying” for the attention we get, which is actually true. Mindfulness comes at a price, our daily practice fine tunes our attention. It is a price of labor and effort.

  • Thank you for your advice—really appreciate this. I was also thinking about mindfulness and shared some thoughts in my article. I would be glad if more and more people preferred being mindful. So if anyone is excited to find out how to start today, please check out my article: https://blog.upwizer.com/en/mindfulness/choose-to-live-a-mindful-life/

  • Nice information thenkx I always follow This blog

  • Such a great article

  • Jane

    I really appreciate your insight – please keep blogging!!

    Thank you :)

  • Now I am Strong in the Face of Adversity! Thanks!

  • Wowww sir awesome information I really like your Wabsite and your all information always best

  • Thank you for writing this article Henrik! It can be so hard sometimes when life gets busy to bring yourself into the present. I love how simple and actionable these ideas are so no matter what is going on you can put them to use.

  • This is really great I liked it. very useful articles thank you for sharing this wonderful articles.

  • Carrie Blake

    Henrik, your thoughts and suggestions are always calming and helpful to me. Thank you so much.

  • Marti A

    This popped up in my email right when I needed it! Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing.
    Having this knowledge, it sounds so easy to do, but when you are experiencing its so easy to forget and get caught up in the past and future repetitive thoughts. It’s quite ironic when its super quiet, our mind can become louder, but when we are super busy our mind and thoughts become quieter …

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