“Learn to calm down the winds of your mind, and you will enjoy great inner peace.” ~Remez Sasson
While juggling a full-time job and my writing, I found it easy to lose track of the days. Weekends ceased to exist and my life ebbed and flowed between working and writing, the two constantly blurring into one another.
I dragged myself from day-to-day without a moment’s rest in between. When I did rest, I’d feel guilty for taking a break from working on my dreams, and it didn’t take long for the guilt to turn into frustration.
I wondered whether I’d ever reach my dream of writing full-time, if and when it would ever come.
I intended on using every free moment I had from my job to write, without realizing the true consequences of what I was doing. And by constantly pushing myself forward, I never gave my mind the space it needed to shape and form my thoughts; I never allowed myself to simply be, which resulted in all kinds of mental blocks and frustrations which met my writing progress head-on.
I was on my way to burnout, and fast, and I knew I needed to make a change. So I turned to meditation. It helped me become more mindful throughout the day and approach my writing from a new angle of clarity.
As I began to incorporate mindfulness into my daily routine, I found it easier to give myself permission to relax and unwind from the pressures of my day job, rather than simply filling every moment with something more to do.
Mindfulness Goes Beyond Meditation
While meditation can help you become more attuned with your mind, you already possess all the tools you need to reap the benefits of a quiet, calm mind.
By simply tuning into the small things in life, you can work your way towards a greater happiness and fulfillment in your own life. Here are twenty-one ways you can boost the quality of your mind, without meditating.
1. Create a mindfulness mantra.
As Eckhart Tolle says, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.” Every morning I remind myself that my new life starts today, which helps me step into the now and connect more deeply with the present moment and separate myself from the worries of my mind.
2. Remind yourself you’re not your thoughts.
Whenever a negative thought occurs in your mind, simply identify it as a “thought” or “feeling” and move on. You’re not scorn or regret, and you’re not self-doubt or anger. You’re separate from your thoughts and they’re separate from you, so why dwell on them?
3. Accept that thoughts arise naturally.
And if you can’t change them, then why bother trying to replace them with different and “better” thoughts? Don’t beat yourself up over something you can’t control, but don’t ignore them either; simply move past them and choose not to identify with them, even as they cloud your mind.
Take a long breath through your nose and breathe it out through your mouth. This can help to calm you and remind you that your thoughts are a small part of the infinitely vast world around you.
5. Thank someone in any way you can.
Even the small act of saying “thanks” to a cashier can reconnect us with the present moment, and it can also prevent us from becoming stuck in our own thoughts, which block us from enjoying life as it comes.
6. Smile at a stranger.
Smiling helps focus our attention outward to the people around us, and by reconnecting with this gratitude for others, we can connect more deeply to the present moment and remind ourselves to simply be.
7. Go for a nature walk.
Go for a walk and fade into the environment around you, and listen for sounds you’d otherwise have missed.
8. Keep a daily gratitude habit.
Keeping a gratitude journal helps pull us away from the stress of the day. It also forces us to appreciate life as it comes and find the good in every day.
9. Leave your phone on silent all day.
You can also turn off your phone’s notifications, as these can be distracting and pull you away from the present moment. Your messages will still be waiting for you there later when you’re ready to go through them.
Turning your ringer off can also stop each disruption from clogging your mind and stopping you from the peace of mind you could be having throughout the day.
10. Eat slowly.
Focusing on the texture and the taste of what you eat can help remind you that while all feelings are temporary, it’s important to truly experience the moments as they come, rather than letting them pass you by.
11. Drink tea.
Tea can help calm your nerves and slow down your thoughts and connect you more to the present moment.
12. Take a bath.
Baths can help you relax by forcing you to take a step back from the bustle of the day, and they can be a great way to let your worries fall away as they fade into the heat of the water.
13. Listen to instrumental music.
It’s proven to boost your ability to focus, which can raise your quality of mind and help you relax when your thoughts won’t stop coming.
14. Tackle one of the most stressful things on your to-do list.
While it’s important to be mindful despite the demands of your day, don’t avoid completing a stressful task on your list if it’s giving you unneeded anxiety. If you need to finish your taxes, for example, but keep putting them off, then it might be useful to complete them to get rid of the stressful thoughts that come from procrastinating.
15. Have a deep conversation with somebody you know.
Fully focus on the other person and listen to what they have to say. By not simply waiting to say our piece, we can help pull ourselves out of our own heads and connect more deeply to the moment by showing appreciation to the people we talk with.
16. Watch your favorite show.
It’s important to take time out of our day to reward ourselves, and indulging in a simple pleasure like watching a show we like can help us step away from our worries and enjoy our free moments from the bustle of life.
17. Write a haiku or any restrictive poem.
This can challenge you to be creative in ways that free-form writing can’t do, and can help you recapture a moment in your life that was pleasant but fleeting.
18. Do a word puzzle.
Crosswords can help your mind be creative and can boost your intelligence, as well as the overall clarity of your thoughts. They can also provide a break from your daily routines, all while being fun to complete.
19. Do the dishes.
Doing the dishes can be a great way to take a break from life, and also be productive while you’re at it. Cleaning dishes can help you feel great, and it pulls you away from your current thoughts, which in turn, can give your mind permission to relax and recharge from the stress of the day.
20. Stare at a piece of art you love.
Whether it’s the Mona Lisa, a poem you like, or a drawing that your spouse made, nothing is off the table here. Art is subjective, and it can help you feel and fully embody the moment by showing your appreciation for the work of others. (Just don’t think about why you like something, as that’s not important here).
21. Pet a dog or cat.
Feel the fur beneath your hands and the softness of their skin. Petting an animal can help release our tensions and connect us to the moment, and can pull us away from our thoughts.
Sometimes we’re so busy focusing on ourselves that we forget to enjoy the moments as they come. We become trapped in the confines of the day-to-day and the span of our own goals, and we forget to enjoy the beauty of life and the little things.
Being more mindful helped remind me that all good things come with time, and there’s no sense working so hard if you don’t enjoy life as it comes. It helped me escape the pressures of my job and embrace my writing without allowing it to consume my life, and it helped remind me to enjoy life again by tapping into the power of the present moment.
We All Have Time To Be Mindful
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be time-consuming or all-encompassing. You can easily use any of these techniques throughout your day to calm your mind and keep yourself fixed in the present moment and free from your worries.
Just don’t forget to stop once in a while and breathe it all in.