Integrate mindfulness meditation into your day

integrate mindfulness into a hike

There are many, many ways to integrate mindfulness exercises into your day-to-day routine. For many, mindfulness practices help control emotions, anxiety and temptations, strengthening resilience and willpower. Some even believe that mindfulness meditation can help increase our “default” level of happiness and compassion. The benefits are unique for every individual, but a multitude of benefits have been claimed by researchers and everyday humans around the globe — why not give it a try?

If you are unsure where to start, there are several great resources available, including books such as “Search Inside Yourself” by Chade-Meng Tan. This will outline a number of methods you can adopt to get you on your way to mastery. Personally, I find the attention-to-breathing method to be a simple but powerful starting technique.

A simple breathing exercise to cultivate mindfulness

(optional, find some others if you’d like)

  1. Discover a comfortable position. You could be seated, laying down or standing. Keep your body in a position that will remain comfortable and not a distraction. You can leave your eyes either closed or open, but if you leave them open just keep them still and unfocused on surroundings — using a focal point is alright.
  2. Relax your body. Allow yourself to relax, focus on what you can feel (rather than think) and just breathe.
  3. Tune into your breath. Feel the natural inhale and exhale of breath. Do not speed up or slow down your breathing. Feel the sensations of breath where it’s most strong to you — it could be in your abdomen, your chest or your nose. When one breath ends, the next breath begins.
  4. Be kind to your mind as it wanders. You might notice that your mind may start to wander throughout the exercise. It is not a problem if this occurs as it’s very natural. However, notice that your mind has wandered, and gently redirect your attention back to breathing. (You will improve more and more as you practice).
  5. Stay here for at least a few minutes. Try to stay in step 3 for as long as you can, focusing on your breath. From time to time, you’ll get distracted or lost in thought — simply return to your breath. When you would like to stop, simply acknowledge and appreciate your effort and continue on with your business.

You: I don’t have time to incorporate anything else into my day…

Me: Here are some times you may be able to integrate mindfulness practices into your day. It will make some things that you hate doing more joyful and productive, and will also make you a bit sharper with a focus on the present!

Some ideas:

Try to integrate mindfulness into these situations:

  1. In the shower
  2. When you brush your teeth
  3. When you enjoy a tea or coffee
  4. While preparing a meal
  5. While eating a meal
  6. While you’re driving or in public transport
  7. While stuck in traffic
  8. While waiting for an appointment
  9. While waiting for an interview
  10. While waiting in general
  11. While working (if it isn’t something that is mentally exhausting)
  12. While going for a walk
  13. While washing dishes or cleaning
  14. While you’re folding laundry
  15. While placed on hold
  16. When you’re feeling anxiety — most people experience anxiety around waiting and “uncertain outcomes” — things we usually can’t change. If you can control your nerves on some degree, you’ll feel a lot better, and mindfulness often gives you a snapshot of the bigger picture e.g. It’s not the end of the world.
  17. When you’re angry — it will help you understand or control your feelings, before you react in a way you may regret.
  18. Before you go to sleep / when trying to sleep

Try some of these throughout the week — good luck!

I also encourage you to make your own list of situations and routines that you feel would be suitable for such exercises.