Mindfulness means being fully in the moment, aware of what is going on and not allowing one’s self to become overwhelmed or to react inappropriately, as much as is possible. Practicing mindfulness helps to make it more a part of regular life. It can help to make a habit of pausing to pay attention to what is happening right now instead of being lost in the past or imagining the future. Mindfulness includes recognizing when one’s mind begins to get carried away and drawing it back to now. It is not always an easy thing to do, which is why it is so important to practice often.
Some things can be helpful to practicing. Try one of these suggestions:
1. Walking alone in nature can be a good way to focus on the present. Notice the things that surround the path and keep in the moment rather than getting lost in thought. It is easy to slip into autopilot when walking a familiar pathway, so it can be helpful to choose a new trail to keep in the present.
2. Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with a friend and make a point to listen carefully to the conversation. Rather than losing track of what the friend is saying by becoming lost in considering what to say next, focus on the conversation and listen to what is being spoken. Note reactions to what is said but set reactions aside until the friend has finished speaking. Repeat what you are hearing back to verify that what has been said is understood.
3. Take a few minutes to just sit, breathe, and focus inward. Make a mental note of each part of the body, focus on mental clarity, and breathe.
4. Start your morning with mindful wakefulness. Instead of popping out of bed and jumping into the day, pause to take some deep breaths and take time to enjoy a few minutes of mindfulness before easing into the usual morning routine.
5. At a meal, instead of eating automatically and paying no attention to what is entering the mouth and body, focus on each bite of food. Enjoy the flavors and take time to chew thoroughly. Smell the food and drink. Savor it. Resist the temptation to rush through the meal.
6. End the day with mindful meditation. Relax on purpose. Take a few moments to just be. Set aside what happened throughout the day, in order to focus on the moment.
It can be very helpful to learn more about mindfulness from a book, or to use a journal to help with mindfulness. There are a variety of journals available to encourage being in the moment.
Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World
For someone who is just beginning to learn about mindfulness, this eight-week plan can help to learn and practice being present.
A Year of Mindfulness
Continue into a full fifty-two weeks of mindfulness with this guided journal which offers themes, writing prompts, and simple exercises.
The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness
Written by a former Buddhist monk, this book encourages people to take time from each day – just ten minutes – to be mindful.
Wherever You Go, There You Are
Popular since 1994, this book still encourages the average person to be mindful, and has been known to change lives.
Learn 71 habits to help live in the present and overcome negativity. This book is also available on Kindle and as an audiobook, to help people to learn to be mindful wherever a moment is available to listen or read.
Ultimate Mindfulness Activity Book
This book for younger folks can teach them the methods of mindfulness. Though it is geared for young folks, adults may find the 150 lessons useful, too.
Carry these cards everywhere to remind and inspire habits of mindfulness. More than fifty suggestions, quotes, and exercises aid in cultivating a mindfulness habit in everyday life.
The Little Book of Mindfulness
Just ten minutes a day can help let stress go and live in the present. This little book offers ways to add peace.
Use these 75 meditations to encourage positivity, peace, and stress reduction every day.
Mindfulness for Beginners
This book comes with a CD to offer beginners useful practice in mindfulness and those suggestions and inspirations can be helpful even for those who have already learned how to focus on the present.
Mindfulness in Plain English
Jargon does not help beginners, so starting with a book that is very clear and plain can be of great help to those who have not previously practiced mindfulness. Examine the reality of meditation and mindfulness and bust the myths about the practice.
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
This book encourages mindfulness in all areas of life, including body, mind, feelings, and experience. The author spent forty years teaching the concepts contained in this book.
I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness
A world full of chaos can make peace seem inaccessible but practicing mindfulness can bring wonder and beauty. This book is meant to help parents teach children how to be mindful and live in the moment.
Mindfulness Meditations for Anxiety
The 100 practices in this book are simple enough to help bring peace in anyone’s life, no matter how anxiety-producing life seems to be. Train your mind and body to respond appropriately.
Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation Course Guidebook
This textbook teaches how to focus on the moment with 24 lectures that take students through the techniques and principles of meditation and mindfulness.
This deck of cards includes fifty activities that offer ideas for games and exercises to encourage mindfulness, improve calm and focus, and promote relaxation.
A Sloth’s Guide to Mindfulness
This humorous book leads readers through daily meditations for mindfulness and enlightenment.
The Mindfulness Journal
Use this journal and its prompts for a year to practice focusing on the moment. There is a lot of space in the journal to write answers to the prompts, illustrate if desired, and keep positive.
Mindful Games Activity Cards
This deck of cards is made to give teens and kids fun ways to develop focus and learn to regulate emotions.
The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety
Use this workbook for eight weeks to overcome anxiety and relieve stress. Build skills and learn to apply them to real life.
This picture book teaches ways to experience mindfulness and learn techniques through the story of a young girl.
Master of Mindfulness
This picture book teaches how to be your own superhero when there are stressful moments in life. Rather than giving in to stress, anger, and disappointment, learn to focus on positive things and release anxiety.