According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of mindfulness is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”  In the health and wellness industry in particular, we see this term being used interchangeably with improving mental health, reducing risks of diseases, and even revitalizing our creativity. I like to think of this term as a “power word,” and we don’t have to go far in our social literature to see it.
When we notice emotions come up when someone cuts us off or when we’re sitting in a long traffic queue, we can approach these emotions with awareness, instead of acting on them impulsively.
The beautiful thing about practicing mindfulness is that we can do it any time, anywhere. Here is a list of some practical, easy ways to stay mindful during your day.
Probably one of the best ways to practice mindfulness is through meditation. This practice is centered on being present and noticing what thoughts and feelings come up.
There are many ways in which to meditate, all with personal preference and goal in mind. Starting a beginner’s meditation practice is a powerful way to introduce yourself to the many tools that this lifestyle will open up for you.
Likewise, there are a number of resources from which to learn, such as the Headspace or Insight Timer apps on your phone. These apps feature teacher-guided recordings for you to enjoy whenever, wherever.
2. Walks in Nature
Nature is everyone’s first teacher. Being outside and giving ourselves a break from work, family, and to-do lists is a beautiful and simple way to reset our entire system. Whether it’s a stroll in your favorite park or going for a long-day hike, being outside lends many ways in which to practice mindfulness.
In fact, there is an entire movement dedicated to this, called Forest Bathing. The idea is to open yourself up to the present moment and action of walking outside: feeling the earth beneath your feet, how firmly or softly you step on the ground, the smells and noises around you, and what thoughts, feelings, or memories this brings up for you.
Nature walks can be incredibly therapeutic. Staying in that present moment and letting go of the day gives room for creativity, clarity, and deep inner connection.
There is nothing more present than sitting down with your thoughts and giving them an expressive outlet. Writing is another therapeutic tool at your disposal, in which you can find a rich mindfulness practice.
Journaling may look like keeping a diary, or it may be choosing to write down thoughts or experiences that feel particularly heavy or confusing. This practice very often leads to clarity and uncovering a new perspective on a situation you may have not considered.
Whether you write about something serious that happened or pen a letter to a dear friend or loved one, the practice will bring you back to present awareness. See if you can really settle into this space. It is rich.
4. Playing with Your Pet
This is one way of being mindful and absolutely loving it! Cuddles with our pets are some of the most precious moments, and they are deeply rooted in present-moment awareness. Not only does it bring you out of mental overdrive, but it has also been found to alleviate depression, curb anxiety, and lower high blood pressure!  Here’s Why Keeping Pets Gives You Positive Energy.
Next time you have a few minutes, throw that ball with your dog or whip out the feather toys with your cat. Not only will they appreciate it, but you can notice the ways in which you sink into the present moment. Enjoy it!
5. Cooking a Meal
You can follow a recipe and become tuned into the ingredients, how long to cook, plating the food, and everything in-between. This practice creates a magical connection between you and the food that will nourish you.
But if you have a favorite dish that you love preparing and don’t need to follow a recipe, take this approach to learn something new. We often make familiar meals on a whim, and in a way that is automated.
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See if you can take a different, mindful approach here and cook your meal slowly and deliberately. Can you smell each fruit or vegetable before you cut it? Can you tune into the noises of food sizzling as it’s being cooked, or even the noise of the utensils or knife on the chopping board? What emotions or thoughts come up as you prepare this meal? Let it be an experience for all the senses.