3 Tips to Integrate Mindfulness into Your (Busy) Day

By Maria Miller, MA, PLPC, RYT-200

“The present moment is the only moment available to us.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

When you think of mindfulness, what do you envision? Incense, a perfectly placed meditation cushion, and hours upon hours of silent contemplation? If so, you’re not alone. And, while this may be what mindfulness looks like for some, the majority of mindfulness practitioners live a very different kind of life. My day, for example, included a very large amount of chaos: Making a messy breakfast for my one-year-old while feeding the dog, changing diapers, trying to work from home while my kid protests in the other room, driving to work while on the phone getting quotes for a new fence, and finally sitting down to write this post. If this sounds more like your life than a serene picture of incense and candlelight, I’m right there with you!

But here’s the thing: My life also includes a deep commitment to honoring the present moment. When I brush my teeth, I recognize 3 emotions I am feeling. While I take out the dog, I take notice of the wet grass on my feet. While my daughter eats, I take a break from cleaning to revel in her gorgeous smile as she bites into her favorite food- “nana.” Mindfulness doesn’t mean a life free from chaos. It means a life full of presence. Here are some tips to bring mindfulness out from the dusty closet of your busy life and into full, living color.

5 Tips to Integrate Mindfulness into Your (Busy) Day

  1. Habit bundle your day away. Habit bundling is a psychology hack that means attaching a new, desired behavior with an existing habit. For example, I’d guess you regularly brush your teeth. How could you introduce a new mindfulness behavior into that moment? Perhaps you could take 3 slow breaths, focus on the taste of the toothpaste, or note 5 things you are grateful for. Choose one that speaks to you. The cue, brushing your teeth, will remind you to fit in that moment of mindfulness.

  2. Take advantage of your travel time. Whether you regularly walk, bike, or drive, use this time to get present. As you begin your travels, check in with how you are feeling. Are you feeling any spots of tension in your body? Maybe you could put on a guided meditation or thought-provoking podcast? Use this time of traveling to be mindfully present with yourself.

  3. Communicate with presence. Take it from a therapist- the key to a good listener is listening with presence! Throughout your day, practice deeply breathing as you listen to whoever is speaking to you. Shift your focus from what to say next or how to fix someone’s problem onto their words and your own breath. Communication happens throughout the day, and deeply listening is a beautiful way to stay in touch with yourself and deepen the connection with others around you.

You deserve to be in touch with the real moments of your life. Otherwise, you will find life passes you by without ever truly savoring it. Life doesn’t have to look peaceful & calm to practice mindfulness. Committing to being present with reality is a way of life, no matter what your reality looks like.

If you’re looking for a nudge to help you develop or deepen your mindfulness practice, these three offerings may be a good place to start:

Introduction to Mindfulness is a 6-week online course that teaches mindfulness skills that will help you navigate life’s bumps & integrate mindfulness into your everyday life.

Cultivating Mindfulness with Your Daughter is an 8-week online course for girls aged 9-15 & a trusted adult. Together, you will explore mindfulness practices & communication skills to deepen your bond.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Class is an 8-week online course that decreases stress using evidence-based mindfulness techniques.

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