10 simple habits for a more mindful life

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Creating a more mindful life doesn’t need to be complex.  

Truth is, it comes down to simple habits that are repeated day in, day out. The repetition is where the magic happens.

I came to realize this through my Buddhism practice which, without exaggerating, turned my life around!

In my new eBook, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego, I share how Buddhism can change how you see the world for the better. 

There are over 100 pages of teachings based on my lived experiences!

Now, if you want to get started on living with mindfulness today, here are 10 things you should do. 

1) Go phone-free

Be honest with yourself, is your phone ever more than an arm’s reach away from you?

Chances are, it’s in your pocket right now or on the table next to you.

Our phones control so much of our lives. 

I always find it baffling when I watch people glued to their phones on public transport. 

Next time you’re on a bus or train, look around at how many people are on their phones… 

Unfortunately, our compulsion with using our phones takes us out of the present moment and causes us to live incredibly mindful-less lives.

Rather than being in the moment, we could be thinking about future plans while texting friends, worrying about work as we check our email or watching a show and numbing ourselves. 

This causes so much stress and anxiety. 

The answer? Spending more time being phone-free. 

Sure, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to go totally phone-free all of the time. But just start by giving yourself a window of phone-free time to bring in more mindfulness.

2) Introduce a meditation practice

Meditation is an art, which is designed to help bring you back to the very here and now. 

It offers a perspective on stressful situations, helps create self-awareness and allows you to anchor into the present.

This is pure mindfulness! 

Now, what meditation looks like for you will be unique to you…

…There is no right or wrong way to do it! 

Sitting in stillness with some relaxing music might be a form of meditation for you, or it might be that you find it meditative when you’re out in the forest in silence. 

Truth is, I find both of these approaches work for me.

The key thing with meditation is that you’re not disturbed and you’re in a peaceful environment.

It’s a chance for you to be with yourself and your thoughts, and to find a new perspective.

3) Let go that little bit more

There’s a quote from Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha that I start my eBook with. It says: 

“Whatever is not yours: let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term happiness and benefit.”

It’s a principle that I live by, which brings me the maximum amount of mindfulness. 

You see, we carry around so much unnecessary baggage and heaviness from situations in our lives. 

Pain and things going wrong is unavoidable, but it is our choice as to whether we live our lives carrying it around.

This is where letting go comes in.

What’s more, deciding you want to let go of something is a conscious act; it doesn’t just happen on its own.

One practice I like to do is visualizing.

You can imagine the thing you want to let go of in a balloon, and visualize that thing floating off into the distance. Try it!

4) Journal each day 

Journaling is one of the most powerful yet simple mindfulness tools out there. 

All you need is yourself, and a pen and notebook…

…And some time just for yourself. 

It’s such a powerful tool because it allows you to empty out your thoughts that are swirling around.

You see, journaling isn’t about having massive ‘aha’ moments (although it’s great if you do have them!), it’s more about clearing space in your mind

Simply put, journaling is about getting some of the thoughts out.

Now, we literally have thousands of thoughts each day, so you can’t be expected to journal out each and every thought. 

But you might have repetitive thoughts, such as feeling fearful about a job interview coming up or feeling unsettled in your relationship. 

So what should you do?

Focus on one or two topics each day when you journal, and dedicate some time to unpacking your thoughts around them.

This will help you with finding clarity and answers, and bring a greater sense of mindfulness to your situation.

And if other things come up, then fine, explore those too! Though the key is not to overwhelm yourself.

5) Wake up earlier 

There’s nothing worse than waking up late and having to rush to get to work on time.

I’ve been there, and it’s not fun.

On mornings like this, you feel resentful about having to go to work and you likely want the day to be over. 

The last thing you want to do is to be present in the moment, as you don’t want the present situation to be what it is!

Avoid ever finding yourself in this situation by ensuring you wake up early enough to do the things you want – before your work obligations start. 

There’s no rulebook for how you should spend your mornings. 

You could spend it writing, dancing and signing or painting…

…Just wake up early enough to do something for yourself, which will make you feel happy about the present moment.

Doing this will also allow you to get intentional and mindful about your day ahead. 

6) Practice gratitude

Being grateful is one of the best things we can do for our wellbeing.

We change our entire experience of life when we bring in gratitude. We become mindful in the moment about the wonderful things we have around us…

…From the people, to the roof over our head, to the possibilities of life!

In other words, when we’re grateful, we gear shift into a place of abundance from a mindset of lack.

You’ll often hear those that aren’t grateful complaining about all of the things that are wrong in their lives – even when they objectively have so much going right for them and so many opportunities! 

Yet, those who are grateful count the small blessings and recognize that they have things good!

This doesn’t mean that grateful people don’t strive for more, it just means that they appreciate what they do have already.

Simply put, gratitude offers a powerful and empowering paradigm shift.

7) Don’t give into urges

Old habits die hard – from binge watching TV shows to eating junk food, and drinking excessively or smoking. 

Some of us have urges that are more benign than others… 

…But, either way, giving into urges isn’t a good practice if you’re trying to be more mindful.

Every time we give into an urge, we give away our power and dismiss our intention to not do that thing. 

So, when you are faced with an urge or temptation of any kind, remember to take a second to think before you act… If you want to be mindful!

You see, if you are mindful about a situation then you’ll likely make a better decision for yourself.

Your future self will thank you for bringing mindfulness to moments of urge!

8) Be present at meal times

In our modern culture, where we rush from place to place, eating can become an afterthought.

How many times have you seen someone chowing down on a sandwich while walking down the street, or eating in front of the television?

These behaviors are normalized in our busy culture – but they’re the antithesis of mindful living.

If you want to bring mindfulness to your relationship with food, it starts with being present at meal times. 

Instead of having your phone in one hand or the television on in the background, make a habit of being present with your food when you eat. 

Simply put, this means thinking about how every bite tastes and how grateful you are for the food. 

What’s more, doing this will revolutionize your relationship with food and make you more mindful than ever!

9) Move your body 

Our modern culture of convenience is also to blame for the lack of movement in our lives.

These days, digital workers don’t even need to leave the house to do any work! 

What’s more, groceries can be delivered, so can all of our shopping. 

I know people who just go from one room to the next some days… And don’t bother going out if the weather isn’t great. 

But this isn’t a way to live!

If they were really mindful about the moment they’d realize what a joy it is to be alive, and honor their bodies by moving. 

Moving your body is necessary to not only bring your back to yourself and the present moment, but it pumps blood around your body and keeps you healthy!

It shouldn’t be seen as something we just do for aesthetics; instead, build it into your life if you want to be in balance…

…And to be your best self. 

10) Spend more time outdoors

Going hand-in-hand with moving your body is spending time in the great outdoors.

Every time we get outside and spend time in nature, we do so many amazing things for our wellbeing and we arrive in the present moment. 

Not only does it increase feelings of relaxation, but it can reduce feeling stressed or frustrated, and give us new perspectives.

You’ve likely heard the phrase ‘clear the cobwebs’, which means to freshen up the mind… This is exactly what it does!

Wherever you live in the world, I’m sure you’ll be able to find beauty around you…

…From local parks to national parks. 

Make a point to spend more time in nature and you’ll increase how mindful you are. 

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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