Would you like to become smarter, healthier, be in better shape, feel more relaxed, and have more energy than you thought possible? Of course you would! If you adopt these 7 mindful habits into your everyday life, your next 365 days will be your best ever!
1. Become Mindful in Your Everyday Life - To be mindful simply means to pay attention on purpose. Much of our lives are spent on auto-pilot, where our mind just wanders from thought to thought. A good example of this is when we are driving. Have you ever been driving down the freeway, a few minutes go by, you come back to your conscious thought and you can’t remember what has happened in those last few minutes. Yes, you were driving, but you can’t remember what you passed, what you saw, or what was going on around you.
You were in auto-pilot mode, or daydreaming. Auto-pilot is the opposite of mindfulness. When being mindful, you’re aware of your surroundings, in the present and observe without judgement. You can start to practice being mindful right now as you read this article. Don’t just read this article, pay attention, be attentive, and understand what it is saying.
Do me a favor, take 15 seconds right now and look around. Observe what is around you. Really look at things…the computer, tablet, or phone you are reading this on. Acknowledge the size of the room or space you are in, what you are sitting on, and anything that is around you. That is an example of being mindful, just being in the present without your mind wandering off to what happened yesterday or what is coming up tomorrow. Start to do this a few times a day. Stop what you are doing and look around to notice where and what is going on. So, why practice mindfulness? Not only does it increase both your physical and mental health, it is scientifically proven to increase the gray matter in your brain, in other words…make you smarter!
2. You Are What You Eat - We put food in our body when we feel hungry, bored, stressed, depressed and for a number of other reasons. Food is essentially our energy source. Food gives us the fuel to keep going throughout the day. Being mindful of what you put in your body will affect your energy level, your cognitive skills, as well as your mood. Just like a high performance car demands high performance gas, if you want your body to perform at a high level you need to put high level food in your body. The old adage “you get out what you put in” says it best. This also goes for your mind as the brain burns 20% of the calories you take in. So, start paying attention to what goes in your body and how it makes you feel.
3. I Want to Pump You Up! - We all know we need to exercise. For most, we go in and out of stages of a regular exercise routines, to not remembering where the gym is. When we’re not exercising regularly we find just about any excuse not to…I’m tired, I don’t have time, I think I pulled my back, just to name a few. Whatever your excuse, throw it out the window. Become mindful about exercising regularly, because there is no excuse not to do something that decreases your stress, improves learning capabilities, improves self-esteem, gives you a natural high, makes you feel and look younger, and allows you to live a more vibrant life. Now, go put the gym in your GPS and get moving!
4. Get Your Beauty Sleep - Sleep is one of the most underrated activities that we partake in each and every day. How can you be mindful when you’re sleeping? Look at your sleep schedule or patterns. When do you go to sleep? When do you wake up? How well do you sleep? Do you wake up several times during the night? Do you set an alarm? How many hours a night do you sleep? Are you tired during the day? Do you take naps? Once you understand your sleeping patterns you can then learn to adjust them so that you get on an optimal sleep schedule.
When you sleep, your body and your brain rejuvenates itself. If you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t give your body or your mind enough time to fully recover. The average person needs 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night. The average American gets 6.8 hours of sleep per night which puts them in a “sleep debt.” Being in a constant sleep debt is basically living a sleep deprived life. If you actually do get the 7.5 hours per night, you will have more energy, think clearer, handle your emotions more intelligently, and just be more productive in general. Basically, you would be a better you!
5. Take “Me Time” - “Me Time” is any activity that you love to do. It can be almost anything that you really get into. For example, some people find exercising to be a great “me time” as they become enveloped in the activity without thinking about the outside clutter of the world. Reading a book, taking a bath, watching a movie, sitting in a room or house by yourself in silence, going to dinner with friends are some other examples of “me time.”
Most people have trouble getting “me time” in this busy world. For those who do have trouble finding time, I suggest scheduling it. Taking “me time” reduces stress and allows you to really understand and appreciate who you are. I suggest scheduling a couple small “me times” per day, even if it is 5 minutes in a room by yourself relaxing. If golfing is one of your “me times”, make sure to get out once a week. If exercising is your time, do it several times a week. You get the picture…make sure to get your “me time!”
6. Listen Up! - Mindful listening is one of the coolest things you can adopt into your life. You will be amazed at some of the things you learn from not only what you hear people say, but also about who is saying them. An example of normal listening is when you are talking with someone, they’re speaking, and you are thinking about what you are going to say next. Mindful listening is where you listen without that chatter in your head. When you listen intently by paying attention on purpose to what is being said, it is a great learning experience, as well as a mindful exercise. Another great advantage of mindful listening is the relationship that you will build with the other person. They will respect the fact that you are listening which ultimately increases your relationship and trust with that person. Try it with the next person you speak with…it will amaze you!
7. Don’t Forget to Breathe! - Breathing is one of the easiest and fastest ways to reduce your anxiety, stress and put you in a better mood. The great thing about breathing is you can do it anywhere, anytime, and you can do it in as little as 60 seconds! One minute of a breathing exercise can take you from stressed out, too “I can handle this.”
An easy but effective exercise is box breathing. This is where you concentrate on your breathing for at least 60 seconds. You breathe in with a count of 4, you then hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4, and hold for a count of 4. You then repeat this for about a minute, or as long as you wish. During the exercise you pay attention to your breath and body as the air fills your lungs on the inhale and slowly releases as you exhale. This exercise will not only relax you, but helps you become more focused and mindful in general.
If you adopt these seven mindful habits, I guarantee you will have the best year of your life! It starts out with a single step. Don’t try and jump in thinking you will become the mindful master right away. Goals and habit development are like staircases. You don’t come to a staircase, take one step and you’re at the top. Just like goals you set for yourself, you need to take baby steps in each of these mindful habits and eventually you will reach the top. Mindfully adopt these 7 habits into your daily routines and you will be amazed at where you are 365 days from now.
Want to take your mindfulness to the next level? Check out 13 Weeks to Mindfulness
To be joyful is to be happy, jubilant and elated. Who doesn’t want more of that in their life! Here are 20 small things you can adopt into your everyday life that will do just that…bring you joy!
1. Eat Breakfast - Make sure to eat a healthy breakfast, as it will help you concentrate and maintain your weight. Besides breakfast, be mindful of what you are putting in your body. You get out what you put in!
2. Smile - It’s amazing what happens when you smile. In today’s busy world, many of us walk around with our heads buried in our phones. Take a break from your busy day and smile, it will naturally put you in a good mood!
3. Be Present - Be mindful by paying attention to the moment. Throughout the day, just stop what you are doing and realize what is going on around you. It’s so easy to run around in auto-pilot and fall back on our bad habits. If we can consciously take ourselves out of that state a few times a day, it makes a big difference!
4. Slow Down - We all have “so much” to do every day! The problem with being “busy” is we actually end up getting less done, and our work suffers. We like to “multi-task” which is actually counterproductive. Pick one thing at a time and do it mindfully. You will produce a better end result and experience less stress throughout the day.
5. Drink Water - The more water you drink, the cleaner your body and mind become. Start substituting water for what you normally drink. If you drink soda, stop! You will be amazed at how much better you will feel and think!
6. Take Breaks - No matter what your day entails, make sure to take frequent breaks. A recent study shows that your brain works at a high level for about an hour and then slows for 15-20 minutes. So, work for an hour and take a 15-minute break. This will help your productivity, and your peace of mind!
7. Move - When you do take those breaks, move! If you sit at a desk all day, make sure to schedule times to get up and walk around, or at least stand up and stretch. It will help you stay energized throughout the day!
8. Write it Down - Writing things down during the day is a great way to remember things and enforce goals you are trying to accomplish. Whether it is a pen and a pad of paper, or an app on your phone, get in the habit of writing things down. You will be amazed at how much more you remember, and how organized your life becomes.
9. Listen - Start listening to people. No, really listen. Instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next while they are talking, cut out the chatter in your head. Just sit there and attentively listen to what the other person is saying. You will be amazed at what you learn from what is being said, as well as who is saying it.
10. Take Action - We say we are going to do this and do that, but rarely do this or that! Pick something each day that you want to accomplish, and do it! It’s amazing how good it feels to finally start doing things you’ve been wanting to accomplish, even if they are small ones.
11. Small Wins - It can sometimes seem like we haven’t had a “win” in a long time. This can be because we often work on large goals or projects. If you don’t already, break down your larger goals and projects into smaller ones. Each time you finish your daily goal, feel good and enjoy your win. Small wins add up to big ones!
12. Me Time - You should be taking small “me times” during the course of your day. Me Time can be anything you enjoy, and is something that takes you away from the clutter of information we are bombarded with. Taking me time lowers your stress levels, and allows you to live a longer and healthier life.
13 Be Positive - This is easier said than done. Beginning your day with a positive mindset is very important. During the course of a day your mindset will be tested. If you can mindfully keep a positive mindset throughout your day, you will have a happier and more successful life.
14, Limit Worry/Anxiety - Stop worrying about what happened yesterday and what is going to happen tomorrow. Be present and think about today! There is nothing you can do about yesterday and tomorrow hasn’t happened, so enjoy today!
15. Breathe - Yes, if we stop breathing we die…I get it. I’m talking about mindful breathing. If you start to feel anxiety or overwhelmed, stop and take a deep breath! There is also a form of breathing called “box breathing” which helps you relax and strengthens your brain.
16. Listen To A Song - This is actually a mindfulness exercise that is easy and fun. Be in your own space, relaxed, put your earbuds in and put on a random song. It works better with a song you don’t know very well. Sit or lay there for the 3-5 minutes (length of the song) with your eyes closed and just listen. Don’t think about anything but what the music brings. Listen to the different sounds and just observe the power of the music.
17. Avoid Negativity - Don’t surround yourself with negative people! Limit the amount of time and energy you spend with negative people, it will have an immediate positive effect on you.
18. Laugh - Just as smiling has a natural effect on your mood, so does laughing. As you avoid negative people, gravitate towards funny ones. Watch a funny show or movie, anything to get those endorphins pumping.
19. Plan Your Next Day - At the end of your day, sit down and write what you want to accomplish the next day. This transfers your thoughts of tomorrow and puts them down on paper. You will sleep better, as you won’t lie in bed worrying about what is going on tomorrow. When you wake up, all you have to do is look at what you have written down and follow the plan.
20. Sleep - Make sure you are getting enough sleep. We are supposed to get 7.5 to 9 hours a night, and the average American gets 6.8. Start scheduling your sleep and start getting the correct amount. You will be amazed at how easy life becomes when you get enough rest. It has an impact on your energy, mental capacity, mood, emotional intelligence, and overall short and long term health.
So, write down what you will be doing tomorrow, get a good nights sleep, wake up, start adopting these little things into your day and begin to live a happier, more joyful life!