HEALTH | 31.08.2022
Mindfulness for beginners and how to set objectives for getting back to your routine
In a previous article, we explained the concept of mindfulness and discussed some of its numerous benefits. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this concept and suggest some exercises you can use to put it into practice. We’ll also give you some tips about how to set objectives to help you get back into your routine.
The concept of “mindfulness” is becoming increasingly popular, and if you’re reading this article, you’re probably interested in taking up this practice and looking for some tips on how to do it. If you’ve been wanting to start practicing mindfulness but didn’t know where to start, then this is the article for you! First, we’ll explain how you can begin to practice mindfulness, with some simple tips on how you can make it part of your daily routine.
How to get started with mindfulness
As explained in our previous article, the aim of mindfulness is to focus your attention on the present moment, to stop your mind from drifting back into the past or worrying about the future. When we are able to keep our attention focused on the here and now, we feel more calm and secure.
This is a practice we can apply in many types of situations. For example, if you’re having trouble sleeping, you can calm your mind by performing a mindfulness relaxation exercise. You can also try mindful eating, which consists of being as present as possible while you eat, so you can overcome the influence of your emotions. This will help you connect with your feelings of hunger, so you’ll be more aware of the point when your hunger has been satisfied.
Exercises to practice mindfulness
Now that you know a little more about the benefits of mindfulness, we’ll describe a few very simple exercises you can use to start applying this concept throughout your day.
- Wake up a few minutes early
When your alarm wakes you up in the morning, stay in bed for a few minutes and put some conscious thought into activating each individual part of your body. After getting out of bed, take a good look out the window or go out onto your balcony. Pay attention to everything you see outdoors. This is a good way to avoid looking at your phone or computer screen during the first minutes of your day, so that these won’t be the first thing you focus your attention on.
- Enjoy your morning coffee or other beverage
Next, enjoy a few minutes of peace and tranquility while preparing your first cup of coffee in the morning. This means paying attention to each part of the process that goes into preparing your usual morning beverage. Take a brief pause as you scoop the ground coffee or select the capsule, listen to the sounds of the coffeemaker, and notice the comforting aroma as it wafts through the air. s
- Remain mindful as you make breakfast
You can continue with these mindfulness exercises as you prepare your breakfast. While you are eating, avoid looking at your phone or computer and leave the television off. Instead, take advantage of these minutes to focus on the foods you’re eating, and on everything you’re doing: spreading butter on your toast, stirring your coffee, etc. You may be pleasantly surprised by this new calm and conscious way of enjoying your breakfast.
- Visualize your daily objectives
This doesn’t mean making a list of tasks you’ll never complete. It just means thinking about some of the things you’d like to accomplish each day, such as finishing a project at work, stopping at the gym on your way home, or having dinner with your family or friends. When you visualize something you hope to accomplish during your day, you can increase your feelings of enthusiasm and awareness.
- Check your thoughts
Try not to let a collection of negative thoughts run through your head at the beginning of the day. Avoiding this will help eliminate the anxiety that many people feel in the morning, and you can start your day with a more positive attitude.
- Five minutes of order
If your home and surroundings are in a state of chaos, this can lead to mental chaos as well. This is why it’s essential to keep your personal environment organized and free of unnecessary clutter. Try to spend 5 minutes each day bringing order to any parts of your home that have become disorganized.
- Digital detox
As mentioned above, looking at your phone is not the best way to start your day. This doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your phone – just try to find some times during your day when you can disconnect from it. For example, turn off your phone when you eat dinner, then leave it turned off until the next morning. You can make better use of this time to talk to your family, listen to music, read a book, etc. Although this may seem like a relatively minor change, your mind will appreciate it.
- Dedicate time to family and friends
We often start off our day without interacting with anyone. However, having breakfast together or finding some other time to share with others can be very beneficial for our mental state. The objective is to remain present in the moment, even if this just means 5 or 10 minutes of focused conversation.
- Look back at how your day has gone
At the end of each day, ask yourself a simple question: did I accomplish what I set out to do this morning? Look back at everything you’ve done, including the things that went well and those with room for improvement. Think about how you could make tomorrow even better. One good way to solidify this mindfulness practice is to write down these thoughts in a journal, so you can perform a more extensive review at the end of each week.
- Practice mindfulness before going to sleep
As suggested above, try to stay away from your phone and other screens at the end of your day. Lie down in your bed and repeat the first exercise described. Start with slow breathing from your diaphragm, then consciously relax each part of your body, beginning with your feet and ending at the top of your head. This exercise is a good way to practice being present in the here and now, and it will help you fall asleep too.
How to set objectives when getting back into your routine
After you have enjoyed a well-deserved vacation, returning to your normal routine can be hard, and it’s quite common to feel disconnected and unmotivated. In this section, we’ll give you some tips and guidelines on how to return to reality, so you can take on your routine again without feeling overwhelmed.
When returning from a vacation, it’s normal to have some difficulty getting back up to full speed. Trying to launch yourself back into your routine on the first day, as if you had never been away, is unrealistic and can cause feelings of frustration. This is why it’s better to return to your regular pace more gradually. One good way to recover your motivation is to establish some daily objectives that are realistic and specific. As you continue to reach these objectives you will feel your motivation increase, along with your enthusiasm.
These objectives can include some on recovering any healthy habits you temporarily set aside during your vacation. For example, you may have stopped exercising, or perhaps you had some trouble maintaining your usual balanced diet. However, it is important to be aware of your starting point and to avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. If sports or exercise weren’t part of your routine before, this could be a good time to set a new objective in this area. Of course, the objective should be realistic, focused on establishing a new routine rather than trying to run a marathon before the end of the year. Being unrealistic will only lead to frustration.
When returning from a vacation, some of the best objectives you can set are those that focus on recovering your healthy life habits. Not only will you feel better, you’ll be able to get back into your normal routine in the most beneficial way possible.