Ever had one of those days that feels like a “template day?” You woke up, went about business as usual, and ended the evening with nothing inspiring to report.
Those days aren’t necessarily the worst. Sometimes we strive for a chill and uneventful day. But even when we’re taking it easy, we can still breathe life and space into our daily routine with the practice of mindfulness.
Read on to learn 10 life-changing mindfulness rituals from Alomoves that will transform your day, inspire happiness, and breathe life into your favorite activities, from mindful morning rituals to ideas on mindful living.
Try 10 Life-Changing Mindfulness Rituals
1. Start your morning with gratitude.
Taking a few moments to reflect in the morning can set a positive tone for your day. You don’t need a fancy leather-bound journal or a notebook to start a gratitude journal. You can use the notes app in your phone, a sticky note, or scrap piece of paper to jot down your thoughts.
Even research backs the idea of gratitude journaling. A study in NeuroImage on the effects of gratitude on your brain showed that participants who engaged in a gratitude writing task showed “significantly greater and lasting neural sensitivity to gratitude” in a brain scan taken three months after the task when compared to the participants who did not. Translation: their brains were wired to feel gratitude long after the gratitude task. When you practice gratitude consistently, you’re training your brain to more easily feel gratitude, which pours out into your interactions with others.
2. Set a daily intention.
You might be used to setting an intention before yoga practice, but why not set an intention at the beginning of every day? Whether it’s to “let it go” or “speak with kindness,” let this intention be your guiding light and change it up based on what you need for the day.
3. Make your bed, mindfully.
Instead of viewing it as a chore, turn bed-making into a moving meditation. Feel the texture of the covers, enjoy the sounds of the fabric, and carefully arrange the bedding just as you like it.
As a bonus, making your bed could also set you up for a more productive day. As Admiral William H. McCraven said in his famous commencement speech, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
4. Explore slow food and mindful eating.
You’ve heard about fast food, but have you ever tried “slow food?” This style of eating frequently happens on vacation and while dining at nice restaurants, but you can bring that same enjoyment into your everyday life. Savor each sip with a morning tea meditation. Slow down during each meal. Consider the source of your food, and strive to purchase from companies that align with your values. Feel gratitude for the people and processes that allowed your food to arrive at your table. Focus on the flavor of each bite and take your time eating. Acknowledge the ways that each meal nourishes your body.
5. Try a walking meditation.
Find a peaceful place in nature where you won’t be disturbed, then walk slowly and mindfully along the path. A walking meditation involves bringing consciousness to an automatic activity you don’t even think about. As you walk, feel your body work to take each step. Feel the earth support you underneath every step. Notice the pace of your breath. Take in the sights and sounds and smells around you. When your mind wanders, return it back to these sensations.
6. Engage in mindful exercise.
If walking is your favorite way to exercise, then a walking meditation is the perfect way to work in some mindful movement. Yoga, Barre, and Pilates are also excellent ways to move, as these practices integrate breath and movement in a stronger way. No matter how you like to sweat and get moving, whether it’s running or weightlifting, make it mindful by considering what muscles are working in your body, how your body is moving, and how you’re using your breath. Focusing on form and alignment can also help — instead of simply following instructions, make each movement intentional.
7. Practice active listening at least once.
There’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re talking to someone and you can tell that they’re half-heartedly listening. Give the attention to others that you wish to receive yourself. Resolve to have at least one conversation a day where you’re fully invested without multitasking. Rather than thinking about what you’ll say next, respond to the other person’s thoughts. This can also help relieve “small talk anxiety,” because you’ll be more invested in what the other person is saying and conversation will flow more freely.
8. Do something creative.
If you don’t consider yourself the “creative type,” you might be pleasantly surprised. We all express our creativity in different ways, and finding your own outlet to create mindfully can bring added fulfillment to your life. And by practicing mindfulness throughout the day, you could be opening yourself up to new ideas to inspire your creativity. Try writing, coloring, journaling, cooking, doing a puzzle or crossword, knitting, playing music, etc. Learn something new, and get lost in the flow state.
9. Commit to one daily self-care habit.
Self-care is different for everyone, but we all deserve a time out for ourselves to indulge in something we love. Whether it’s taking a bath, reading your favorite book, lighting your favorite candle, being in nature, texting a friend or family member, listening to music, or working in the garden, choose an activity that brings you joy and makes you feel sane.
10. End your evening with a meditation.
Even just five minutes of meditation can help you peacefully reflect and unwind from the day. Jackie Stewart, a mindfulness teacher and Alo Moves instructor, likes to begin every meditation by taking three deep breaths. “This is a wonderful way to establish a routine in our meditation and we can begin to rely on that structure,” she said.