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ONEYOGAHOUSE

By: Cara Hutto

I recently saw a Reddit thread where a 20-something-year-old was asking for life advice from people in their forties. One of the best responses I read was as follows: “Don’t fall for the trap that your life needs to be one long narrative that you should be building. Life is best when it’s a bunch of happy moments that just happen to be connected. Don’t try to make your life into a novel, make it a book of poems.”

This quote beautifully encapsulates the fundamental essence of mindfulness: live in the present moment and find joy in the small, everyday experiences. Bringing awareness to the present allows us to cherish our day-to-day lives rather than constantly striving for a grand narrative. By embracing life as it unfolds naturally, we can reduce stress and find greater peace and fulfillment.

By incorporating these mindful habits into your routine, you can cultivate a greater sense of peace, clarity, and balance amidst the busyness of life. From morning rituals to small moments of pause throughout your workday, here’s how to practice mindfulness.

Move your body in the morning

Instead of falling into the habit of hitting snooze, doomscrolling, or immediately getting to work as soon as you wake up, incorporate mindful movement into your morning routine, whether it’s through yoga, stretching, or jogging through your neighborhood. Pay attention to the sensations in your body, the rhythm of your breath, and the sights and sounds around you as you move with purpose and awareness.

Practicing yoga in the morning can reduce stress and anxiety by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Starting the day in this state of calm can help you handle stress more effectively throughout the day. Plus, yoga can be invigorating and clear mental fog—gentle stretching and breathing exercises increase blood flow and oxygenate your body, providing a natural energy boost without the need for caffeine.

Prioritize your top priority tasks of the day

Focus your energy and attention where it matters most. Start your day by identifying the top three most important or urgent tasks to accomplish. Rather than diving headfirst into your to-do list without direction, take a moment to reflect on your priorities and choose tasks that align with your overarching goals and objectives. Allocate dedicated time blocks in your schedule for working on your priority tasks. By setting aside specific chunks of time to focus on these tasks, you can create a sense of structure and intentionality in your day, minimizing distractions and maximizing productivity.

Treat yourself

When you’re being pulled in a million different directions between your work and personal life, it can be difficult to prioritize the most important thing—you and your wellbeing. Set aside time each day to treat yourself to something small or special that brings you joy. Whether it’s buying yourself an iced coffee, strolling in the sunshine while listening to your favorite podcast, or cooking a nourishing meal, carve out time for moments of pleasure and relaxation amidst your busy schedule.

Connect with nature

Spending time outdoors can be incredibly grounding and rejuvenating. Make time to immerse yourself in nature each day and appreciate the beauty of the natural world around you. Take a slow, mindful walk in a park, forest, or by the water. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, and smells around you. Notice the details of the plants, the texture of the ground, and the feel of the breeze on your skin. Allow your inner child to play—go outside, be curious, and try to find an object for every color of the rainbow in nature.

Journal regularly

Journaling is a practice you can easily make your own. By writing about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your emotional landscape, fostering self-awareness. It’s self-expressive—writing can be a creative outlet, encouraging you to explore your unique ideas, dreams, and aspirations. Plus, journaling often involves observing and describing your internal and external experiences in detail, helping to ground you in the here and now. You can use journaling to practice gratitude by noting things you’re thankful for each day. This focus on positive aspects of life can shift your mindset towards appreciation and contentment.

Make time for hobbies

Block out dedicated time in your schedule for pursuing your hobbies or personal projects. Treat this time as non-negotiable, just like any other appointment or commitment, and prioritize it accordingly. Whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, writing, or gardening, make space for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Avoid the temptation to let work encroach upon your leisure time, and vice versa, allowing yourself to fully engage in your creative pursuits without distraction or guilt.

Focus on your breathing

Take regular “breath breaks” throughout your day to pause, close your eyes, and focus on your breath for a few moments. This simple practice can help center and ground you amidst the hustle and chaos of work, providing a quick reset whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed.

Create mindful transitions between different tasks or activities throughout your day. Instead of rushing from one thing to the next, take a few moments to pause, breathe, and reset your focus before moving on to the next task. This will help you approach each new activity with clarity and intention, reducing feelings of overwhelm.

Practice mindful eating

When you have a conscious relationship with food, you can easily transform mealtime into a moment of mindfulness and gratitude. Slow down and savor your meals and practice mindful eating. Pay attention to the flavors, textures, temperatures, and sensations of each bite, and try to eat without distractions like TV or scrolling through your phone. Try to avoid eating on the go when you can. Sit down at a table to eat and create a dedicated space for your meals.

Have an intentional, meaningful conversation

Creating intentionality around the conversations we have on a day-to-day basis embodies the principles of mindfulness by fostering presence, active listening, non-judgment, clarity, emotional regulation, and deeper connections. According to research, deep, meaningful conversations make us happier. So, make time for one-on-one conversations with your loved ones.

Call your family members regularly to catch up, invite friends to catch up over coffee, ask your coworkers about their kids’ soccer games, and have a standing date night with your significant other. When you’re out and about, engage with strangers—even having a quick conversation with a barista about your weekend plans or a new movie can boost your happiness. You never know what you might learn from someone new.

Disconnect from tech

Designate specific periods throughout your day to unplug and disconnect from the digital world. Turn off push notifications, resist the urge to constantly check your phone or email, and allow yourself to fully immerse in the present moment, free from screens and distractions. Wind down your day with a moment of reflection and introspection. Take stock of the day’s events, acknowledge any challenges or victories you encountered, and express gratitude for the experiences that unfolded. This can help you unwind and prepare for a restful night’s sleep.

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