The 2 Easiest Ways to Create Mindfulness in Your Life
Mindfulness is being present in the moment. When you’re being mindful you’re not planning the future or obsessing over the past. Being mindful slows you down and lets you fully enjoy and be part of the present.
Research into mindfulness show that being mindful improves eating behavior, increases mood, improves sleep in people with insomnia and reduces feelings of anger and anxiety. It’s also been shown to improve glucose regulation in patients with Type 2 Diabetes and improve blood pressure.
Mindfulness helps rebalance a stressed nervous system and takes you off autopilot so you make better decisions. Not only that, mindfulness allows you to enjoy all the incredibly wonderful people and things in your life. It also makes you more productive and satisfied at work.
Mindfulness makes people happy. And who doesn’t want to be happy? But mindfulness (and happiness) don’t just happen. You have to actively create it. Fortunately, it takes only a few seconds to start feeling calmer, more present, happier and healthier.
With “The 2 Easiest Ways to Create Mindfulness,” you don’t even have to stop doing what you’re doing. You can be driving in the car and implement them. You can be bored at a meeting or stressed at lunch or anywhere else and do them. They’re available to you no matter the situation and they only take seconds to do.
They don’t require any special equipment. They’re available to you anytime, anywhere. And they’re completely free.
Do them at least once a day—more if you’re so motivated—and you’ll experience the benefits right away.
1. The 5-Second Breathing Exercise
Yoga, meditation and every martial arts practice teach the importance of your breath. When we’re tense our breathing is shallow. But when you take deep, full belly breathes it modulates your immune system toward a more relaxed state.
When you breathe deeply, you feel calmer quickly. And it only takes five seconds to start experiencing it. You can even do this in a meeting while driving or anywhere else you happen to be.
I’ve taught this technique to patients and healthcare practitioners for years. Here’s how you do it…
- Breathe in through the nose (deep, belly breaths) for 5 seconds. You can count slowly to 5.
- Hold your breath for 5 seconds.
- Breathe out through the mouth for 5 seconds.
- Repeat 3, 5 or more times, until you get into a calm space.
Do this several times a day or as frequently as you need.
2. Ask yourself…
Too often peoples’ minds are a million miles away. You can be driving down the street, cooking in our kitchen or interacting with our kids, but you’re thinking about everything you did today or what you have to today tomorrow. Most of us go through life not fully experiencing what is right in front of us. Mindfulness brings your mind to where your body is.
To bring yourself back to the present moment, simply ask yourself the question, “Am I in ______”? You’ll fill in the blank with wherever you are.
Example of this include:
- Am I in the car?
- Am I in the kitchen?
- Am I in the meeting?
Use this question format to bring you back into the present moment wherever you may be and regardless of what you’re doing. You’ll experience renewed focus on what’s around you and you’ll quickly become fully present.
Loucks EB, Gilman SE, Britton WB, Gutman R, Eaton CB, Buka SL. Associations of Mindfulness with Glucose Regulation and Diabetes. Am J Health Behav. 2016;40(2):258-267. [Article]
Momeni J, Omidi A, Raygan F, Akbari H. The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on cardiac patients’ blood pressure, perceived stress, and anger: a single-blind randomized controlled trial. J Am Soc Hypertens. 2016;10(10):763-771. [Article]
Ong JC, Manber R, Segal Z, Xia Y, Shapiro S, Wyatt JK. A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for chronic insomnia. Sleep. 2014;37(9):1553-1563. [Article]
Rogers JM, Ferrari M, Mosely K, Lang CP, Brennan L. Mindfulness-based interventions for adults who are overweight or obese: a meta-analysis of physical and psychological health outcomes. Obes Rev. 2017;18(1):51-67. [Article]
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