7 Ways to be more Mindful and Present Today


Is your life in your head? Do you struggle keeping your mind in the here and now? I know I do.

Being ‘mindful’ is a hugely important part of getting healthy and enjoying life, but it can be so hard to do!

  • Busy schedules
  • Boring people
  • Memories
  • Worries about the future
  • Self talk
  • And on and on and on…

Try these 7 easy ways to be more mindful today and you could see some surprising life improvements.

I mentioned mindfulness on the blog a few weeks ago and I think it’s such an important topic to re-visit.

We’re living our lives in our heads and forgetting to live in the moment, and this can make us so much more stressed and less able to focus on our health, lives, and loved ones. Mark Sission, of Mark’s Daily Apple, says:

“Distraction of various sorts can be a self-sabotaging undercurrent for all of our endeavors. In fact, it’s entirely possible to live an entire life that almost continuously hovers in some parallel plane, directed by the same old narratives, typical roles and emotional agenda regardless of what’s in front of our faces.”

And most of us are living our lives distracted from the present moment.

What does ‘mindful’ or ‘present’ mean?

Obviously, we can’t live in the moment all the time. We need to plan for the future, and we can learn so many lessons from our past. But there are clear times when really being there makes our lives so much better. Richer. Deeper. And healthier.

But what does ‘being present’ or ‘living in the moment’ mean? Well, it simply means that your body, thoughts, emotions, and senses are all totally focused on where you are, what you’re doing, or who you’re with. This can help you be healthier in every area of your life. For real.

Every. Area.

– Your physical health can be improved if you are present when you eat or exercise.

– Mentally and emotionally you can get a break from stress and worry by only focusing on what you’re doing right now.

– Socially you can benefit from really being with and listening to the person you’re with.

– And spiritually you will benefit from being grounded and more thankful for what you have.

Why should you be mindful/present?

As if the benefits listed above weren’t enough, being present can help us overcome cravings and change our habits – something I KNOW is a huge struggle. Alex Jamieson, queen of cravings, says in her book that when we’re present and consciously choose to act:

“The ritual, the habit, has been broken, or at least put on pause, and what rushes in to fill its place is possibility and choice.”

Essentially, we can get some space when we let go of everything and everywhere we are currently not. That sounds pretty good to me.

Also, mindfulness has been found to:

How can you be more mindful and present today?

What things can you do to start getting some of the benefits? These need to be easy to do and have ways of remembering to do them. Why? Because I always forget.

And when I DO remember, I still spend 90% of the time thinking about anything BUT the present moment. Total fail.

True story. I write a health blog, but I’m a normal human being 😀

So, there have to be some easier ways to get the benefits of being mindful into our lives without the struggle. And I found them.

Here are 7 ways you can immediately start to be more mindful without stressing about it.


 1.

Pause before you eat and take three deep breaths. Look at you food, smell you food, take a photo of your food. Be grateful that you have that food and carry that awareness as you eat. How can you remember to do this? I use the TwoGrand meal logging app – sharing meal photos might be a reminder to pause. Or, put a sticky note on your desk, lunch box, or fridge to remind you. You can also check out my guest post for more info on mindful eating.

Here’s some supporting research:

One study says, “ Training in mindful eating …facilitate improvement in dietary intake, modest weight loss, and glycemic control.”

Another one found that, “results suggest promising benefits for use of mindfulness training on weight-gain prevention in healthy individuals.”

And finally, “Results suggest that mindful eating may have a greater influence on serving size than daily mindfulness.”


2.

Schedule ‘mindfulness breaks’ throughout your work day. Use a computer timer, or your phone, to remind you to take a break for a minute. You can use this time to do any number of mindfulness exercises – use your senses, write down something you are grateful for at that moment, stick your head out a window and breathe in some fresh air, do a quick calm.com session.

Here’s a simple exercise you can try at any time:

Try these five steps at any time to feel more mindful and present during the day. This can help with concentration, stress relief, and much more.


3.

Write it out. Take a couple of minutes before bed to meditate or keep a gratitude journal. This can help you stop worrying about what was or what will be, and keeps you grounded in the good things that you have right now.

This study says that their “Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.”

4.

Really listen to someone when they talk to you. Do it on purpose. You probably won’t remember when you’re in the middle of a conversation, but you can go and talk to someone with the goal of really listening to them. Put an alarm in your phone for a time when you’ll be around the person you want to do this with, then strike up a conversation with the express purpose of listening, thinking, and responding to their words rather than your opinions, ideas, or experiences.

Here’s just one example from the research:

“This paper introduces a model of “mindful parenting” as a framework whereby parents intentionally bring moment-to-moment awareness to the parent-child relationship. This is done by developing the qualities of listening with full attention when interacting with their children, cultivating emotional awareness and self-regulation in parenting, and bringing compassion and nonjudgmental acceptance to their parenting interactions.”


5.

Stop multitasking. As this research shows, multitasking is the enemy of presence and mindfulness. Multitasking guarantees you’ll be thinking about everything except your present self and situation. Try focussing on just one task at a time, get it done, then move on to the next.


6.

Don’t listen to music while you workout or exercise. I know for some people, this is all that gets them through their workout (if this is you, maybe you’re doing the wrong workout), or it makes them feel really good. But, for the sake of experimentation try cutting out the music on focussing solely on what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, and how your body feels while you do it. Try being totally present while you move your body and see what comes from it. Researchers suggest you might get a boost in performance.


7.

And finally, I’d be short-changing you (and I’d never do that!) if I didn’t mention the mother of all mindfulness activities: meditation.

This doesn’t have to be some big, weirdo thing where you sit on the floor with your legs crossed, but I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s super easy, either. Anyone who’s being honest will tell you that meditating takes work, but that the benefits are worth it. It’s something that I’d like to start using myself… if I could just remember to do it. So, when the time is right, I’ll be setting an alarm on my phone and trying out some guided mindfulness meditation to compliment my other ‘being present’ tactics. This study found that you don’t even have to have any meditation experience to get some great benefits, so there’s hope for me yet! If traditional meditation isn’t your thing, have a look at my post about Zentangle – a form of meditation involving drawing.


So there we are – 7 ways to be more mindful that are simple and get results.

Tell me in the comments: what do you find the most difficult when it comes to being present?


About Samantha

Hello! I'm Sam and I'm an Eating Psychology Coach. I work with women who struggle with emotional eating and weight loss to develop new strategies and lifestyles so they can stop using food to cope, lose weight, and eat happy.


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2 thoughts on “7 Ways to be more Mindful and Present Today

  • sue

    hi samantha – and thank you for reminding me to be mindful. i have become very conscious of mindful eating over the last few years – can’t believe how i used to just throw food down my neck, hardly noticing it at all. shame on me! i absolutely love your ‘5 steps to being present’ and will be sharing that on my facebook page. that’s a lovely simple way to approach mindfulness and one i think a lot of people will be able to connect with. thanks again. x

    • Samantha Post author

      Thank you so much for reading, sharing, and commenting, Sue! The recipes over on your blog are just lovely. That’s excellent that you’re becoming more of a conscious eater – it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself, but it is just so easy to lose focus and chow down. I’m so pleased that you like my 5 steps – I’m over the moon if it helps you!
      Thank you for your kind words, it was a pleasure to read 🙂