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The Busy Person’s Guide To Practicing Mindfulness


The idea and practice of mindfulness is definitely becoming more mainstream. And this is a really great thing. The ability to slow down and be present in the moment is not only much needed in the fast pace world of today, but it can seriously benefit our mental, emotional and physical health. But it’s important to know that practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to look a certain way, and this means that there are a number of opportunities for even the busiest person to include mindfulness into their day.

Busy Person's Guide to Mindfulness

*This post does contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links. But don’t worry, it costs you nothing extra. 

Attitude Matters

What really is essential when it comes to mindfulness is your attitude towards it, not necessarily how or where you practice it. There are seven attitudinal factors considered to be at the foundation of mindfulness, which are described in John Kabat-Zinn’s 2004 book, Full Catastrophe Living. By applying these attitudes to whatever activity you are doing, you can effectively practice mindfulness while going about your day. And as with anything that you practice regularly, it will start to become a habit within your life.

The Seven Pillars of Mindfulness:

  1. Non-judging – Allowing thoughts, feelings and experiences to come and go without becoming hyper-focused or judgmental about them. They simple are.
  2. Patience – Not getting frustrated or giving up if the mind and body wander from being mindful.
  3. A beginner’s mind – Simply allowing whatever comes up to do so without having a set rule about what is supposed to happen or how the practice is supposed to go.
  4. Trust – Listening to and trusting yourself; not feeling obligated to follow the “authority” on what it means to be mindful or practice mindfulness.
  5. Non-striving – Not working towards any particular result or outcome; loosening any expectations you might have about mindfulness practice.
  6. Acceptance – Acknowledging each moment, thought, feeling or experience as it comes; not trying to avoid or push out uncomfortable thoughts or feelings.
  7. Letting go – Allowing each moment, thought, feeling or experience to go; not trying to force a particular thought or feeling to remain.

Can’t Find the Time? Not to Worry

It can be hard to consistently schedule a morning mediation session (or at all). And even if you do, there’s a chance that something else comes up (*raises hand) or you sleep in (*raises both hands). And for some, the idea of sitting quietly to mediate isn’t all that appealing.

Truthfully, mindfulness can easily be adapted to fit a person’s preferences and lifestyle.  So if you want to build your capacity to be mindful, to slow things down and respond versus react, but aren’t always able (or want to) practice traditional meditation on its own, here are a few simple ways you can easily fit it into your every day routine.

Mindful Eating

We all have to eat, so this is a great time to fit in a mindfulness exercise. Mindful eating has been shown to not only improve our mood, but help us better digest our food and contribute to long-term physical health and weight management.

When practicing mindful eating simply pay attention to the experience of eating your meal from beginning to end, and notice what comes up along the way. Before you even take your first bite you can take a moment to enjoy the presentation of your food while taking a few deep breaths. Or practice gratitude by appreciating the fact that you have something to eat, and that you have the opportunity to nourish your body and give it the fuel it needs to get you through your day.

The truth is re-fueling our minds and bodies is extremely important and deserves it’s own time to be appreciated. In addition, by paying full attention to our eating practices we are better able to notice when we are full. This can be a helpful guide if you are looking to improve your mindful eating practices and relationship with food.

Mindful Grocery Shopping

Oddly enough, a fantastic place to practice mindfulness is none other than at the grocery store. In a busy place like this it can be easy to feel frustrated, overwhelmed and even anxious. Have you ever been to Costco on a Saturday morning?!

So while you walk through the congested aisles or wait in the seemingly endless checkout line take a few minutes to slow down and pay attention to your breathing. Notice if your muscles are tense, and if so use a relaxation strategy of slowly tightening and relaxing a single muscle group at a time. Allow yourself to simply move through the process as you check another thing off your to-do list. And any negative or frustrated thinking can come and go without building up or leaving you feeling drained.

Mindful Walking

As many of us spend most of our days indoors and seated, mindful walking can be a great way to  switch things up. In fact, this is one of my favourites because if you can get outside you get the added bonus of connecting with nature.  Going for a walk can allow us the opportunity to work through the things that are on our minds, but it also allows us to pay attention to our bodies, the world around us and puts us in a better state to deal with the problems we are experiencing. But even if your only opportunity to walk is to and from your car, you still have the chance to make it count and relieve some stress.

When mindful walking (or moving of any sort, really) it’s again helpful to start with paying attention to your breath, then your body, how you experience each movement (e.g. the weight of your body shifting, your heel pushing into your shoe, the rhythm of your step) and finally, your surroundings. As with the other mindful practices if you catch yourself caught up in a flurry of thoughts or feelings, gently take notice and guide your focus back to your surroundings.

These are just three everyday practices that even the busiest person can do to build up their mindfulness skills, but there are countless others! I would love to hear in the comments below how you incorporate mindfulness practice into your everyday life.

 

 

And if you’re interested in really taking charge of your mindfulness skills here are a few resources that might help along the way.

 


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25 Comments

  • Reply
    Kylie
    June 1, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I love this post and there are some great tips. My doc recommended mindfulness to me recently for my post partum anxiety

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 1, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks, Kylie! That is a great recommendation from your Dr., post partum anxiety is very common; having a new little one can feel extremely overwhelming. It’s something that I think a lot of new Moms could benefit from. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Gabriela Murphy Goldberg
    June 1, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    I feel relaxed already just reading this!

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 1, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      Haha…then my work here is done! Glad you enjoyed the read, Gabriela 🙂

  • Reply
    Daisy
    June 1, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Love your thoughts on ‘mindfulness’

    https://figmentsofimaginationwordpresscom.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/wandering-lust/

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 1, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      Thanks so much, Daisy!

  • Reply
    Danielle
    June 1, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    I have a lot of trouble with mindful eating. I really need to slow down, savor every bite, and not be distracted. Thank you for such a great read.

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 2, 2017 at 4:19 am

      Me too, Danielle. Sometimes I don’t even know where my food has gone! It’s a work in progress for sure. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Reply
    kristabel
    June 2, 2017 at 12:08 am

    So I loved this post lot. I’ve been looking for blogs like this because I get exhausted from seeing makeup hauls all the time. You just gained a loyal subscriber.
    As for this article, I’m saving it for future reference. I’m not just a busy person but a busy minded person too.

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 2, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      Busy and busy minded, I can completely relate. Even if things happen to look calm on the outside, there is likely to still be a whirlwind of all sorts going on internally. It seems this is how most people are feeling nowadays. Thank you so much for the wonderful words. I am honoured to have you as a loyal subscriber 🙂

  • Reply
    Marina
    June 2, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Such a great article! Bookmarked so I can come back and read this when I need the gentle reminder 🙂 It’s so well laid out I could even print it and put it on my cork board!

    http://www.marinatayylor.com

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 2, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      Marina, that is so kind of you. I’m so glad you found this helpful and well organized! I love when I come across gentle reminders, I so prefer them to the more jarring ones that sometimes come our way as well 🙂

  • Reply
    ashley
    June 2, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I have never thought to practice mindfulness in the grocery store! That’s such a great idea, I’m going to give it a shot next time i go!

    xo
    Ashley

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 4, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      Who knew, right?! I’m so glad you have something new to try. You’ll have to let me know how it goes. 🙂

  • Reply
    Christine
    June 2, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Gardening is my time., I always feel at peace after tending to it each day.

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 4, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Gardening is such a fantastic means of mindfulness. We benefit in so many ways from tending to the earth.

  • Reply
    Sharon Collie
    June 2, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    I must admit I am usually running around like a headless chicken and so stressed! Will have to try and practice mindfulness and let you know how I get on!

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 4, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Sharon, your admission is warmly received. I write and talk about mindfulness for a living, and still find myself running around like a headless chicken at times, lol. I would love to hear how things go for you as you put mindfulness into practice!

  • Reply
    Sonyo Estavillo
    June 2, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    I really love this and write about similar things as mindfulness. It’s so important to be present in all that we do. I did a lot of research on meditation and what it does to the brain, it’s mind blowing how much our brain benefits from focused stillness and silence. It’s all about silencing our “monkey minds.” Great post.

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 4, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      Absolutely, Sonya. It’s so great that more evidence is being presented to the public around the benefits of practices like mindfulness. It’s becoming less and less of an “alternative” idea. I will definitely make my way over to your blog to check out some of your writing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Shevoneese
    June 2, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    This post has some great tips. I especially resonated with mindful eating. Today we have many gadgets that distract us from really observing what we consume. We are mindlessly eating just to fill a gap but not for nuttrition.

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 4, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      You’re so right, Shevoneese. We are becoming more and more distracted from “life” overal, which takes away from our ability to actually live and enjoy ourselves, including when we sit down to a meal. So glad you found this post useful. Cheers.

  • Reply
    TINA H
    June 2, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    These are some very useful tips that I definitely need to try. I’ve been stressing and stressing so it’s definitely hard to keep my mind at ease. This is so well written and a great way to remind me to give myself a rest sometimes. Thanks for this dear! <3

    xo Tina
    IG: @tinasweetheart
    http://www.tinasweetheart.com

    • Reply
      Melissa
      June 4, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Tina, sorry to hear that stress has been getting at you lately; I hope things start work their way out soon…they always do, eventually. You’re very welcome, and I hope these ideas are helpful in some way as you move forward. 🙂

  • Reply
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