If you’re anything like we are, practicing mindfulness sounds a lot easier than it turns out to be. Even the term is sort of a question mark—what is mindfulness exactly and how do you know if you’re actually doing it? What is a mind anyway?
Before you get too far into the philosophical spiral (and trust us, we know philosophical spirals), take a deep breath and dig into our collection on practicing mindfulness. In it, you’ll find out how to define mindfulness in the first place, 15+ simple ways to try it, some tools that make it way easier, quotes to keep you motivated, and even a firsthand account of a real person giving it a shot every day. (And not to give too much away, but she even lived to tell about it.)
Think of this as your way out of the mindfulness mindf*ck and into the benefits of slowing down and breathing deeply, of which there are many. Promise.
Everything You Need to Know about Practicing Mindfulness
Before we get into the good stuff, like easy mindfulness exercises and tools, it helps to know what the definition of mindfulness is—and what it isn’t. This all-inclusive look at mindfulness goes beyond typical, sensationalized benefits and digs into the real science. Once you’ve got a clearer picture of mindfulness overall, you’ll find three easy exercises to try any time. See? Not that bad.
Deep breathing is a key component of being mindful, which means that these quick exercises are a sneaky way to get in mindfulness without the intimidating terminology. It’s mindfulness in disguise. This one has a holiday spin, but the exercises are designed to stifle stress during any situation. Breathing break, anyone?
Anxiety, and we mean the mental health condition here, is super common and can also be super debilitating. Conveniently enough, mindfulness is an evidence-based way of dealing with the brain noise that often accompanies anxiety. In this article, a mindfulness expert and author talks about how mindfulness eases anxiety and outlines a detailed exercise you can try right now. Give this one a shot even if you’re not struggling with anxiety. It’s great for everyday stress too.
There’s one place that seems to summon the stress in all of us—work. Whether it’s a confrontation with a colleague, a presentation in front of half the company, or feeling the pressure of a looming deadline, it seems like our calm goes as fast as our coffee does. Luckily, you don’t need a quiet studio or yoga mat to take mindfulness with you to the office. All you need is a few minutes. Our mindfulness experts break down easy exercises for five common work scenarios. And don’t worry, your coworkers will have no idea.
We all know the touted benefits of sleep; what we don’t all know is how to actually do it. That’s where mindfulness comes in. It turns out that slowing your mind and focusing on your breathing is a research-backed and expert-approved strategy for easing into sleep. Let our mindfulness expert show you how to be mindful for bedtime bliss.
Maybe sleep isn’t your issue. Maybe it’s the stress that comes with being a human in today’s supercharged world. Thankfully, mindfulness can help as much during the day as it can at the end of it. These three simple exercises are designed to be done on-the-go—literally, one of them involves mindful walking. Add them to your arsenal to create a little calm in your every day.
At this point, we assume you’re sold on the idea of adding more mindful moments to your days and nights. We’ve given you plenty of exercises to try, but that doesn’t necessarily make doing them any easier. But these apps can. In our review of 10 of the best mindfulness meditation apps out there, there’s a little something for everyone. Whether you struggle with making it a habit, need micro-meditations to make this work, or are looking for guided meditations to keep your focus, you’ll find it all and more in our guide to mindfulness apps.
It’s all fun and games until someone has to actually do the damn thing. We asked one of our contributors to commit to using a mindfulness meditation app daily for two weeks—and then tell us all about it. Find out which app from our list she used, how she managed to fit in practicing mindfulness every day, and what she discovered in the process in her honest, spare-no-details review of 14 days of mindfulness.
Now that you know what mindfulness is, what it can do for your stress, anxiety, sleep, work, and more, some exercises to try, and the tech that has your back, you might just need some pure motivation to keep the fires going. These 16 quotes will put you in the mindful mood no matter what you’re feeling.
Your turn: Do you want to turn practicing mindfulness into a habit? Maybe you’ve already succeeded at it. Share your wisdom in the comments.
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Author: Chelsey Taylor
Chelsey likes words, especially adjectives, and has been perfecting her perfectionism since infancy. She’s an endorphin-gatherer, top-knot connoisseur, and content manager at Panda Planner.