Sometimes, we could all use a reminder to be more mindful.
In our over-scheduled worlds, so much of our mental energy is committed to our to-do lists and calendars that we’re almost always mentally in the future and thinking about what’s coming next instead of truly being present.
We’re planning our workday while making coffee instead of enjoying a morning ritual, or thinking about the friends and colleagues we need to respond to on our walk instead of noticing the beautiful wildflowers.
And mindfulness isn’t just important when you’re on your own — when you’re checking your Instagram instead of fully listening to the story your partner or child is telling you at dinner, you're not being mindful (even when your mind feels so very full).
At its core, mindfulness just means paying attention. It means noticing — and listening to — what is happening in your mind, body, and immediate environment.
Why mindfulness is important
Mindfulness isn’t just something that is nice to do, it also can truly help you feel better.
People who regularly practice mindfulness report lower levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and anger — likely because they are paying attention to their bodies and minds and so are able to identify and address these emotions as soon as they begin rather than letting them grow.
Becoming adept at being present can also help you be more productive with your time and more engaged in your interpersonal relationships.
We’ve all experienced the wonderful feeling of being truly present before — it’s what happens when you’re “in the zone” or in a “flow state” running, or painting, or writing, or working, and before you know it, all the background noises have faded away and time seems to pass without you noticing it. So how can we recreate that feeling more frequently?
Easy ways to practice mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Here are a few easy ways you can incorporate mindful breaks or reminders into your daily routine:
- Pick an everyday activity — something like brushing your teeth, making the bed, drinking your morning coffee, etc. — that you’re going to do mindfully. That means instead of zoning out while you’re brushing your teeth and thinking about your to-do list, you’re going to focus only on the activity that you’re doing. What does the toothbrush feel like in your hand? On each tooth? Devote the entirety of your attention to each action you take — you’ll be surprised at how relaxing and positive you can feel afterward!
- Start a meditation practice. Sit down for 10 minutes at the beginning or end of the day and meditate. Turn your attention exclusively to your breath and follow it as you breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. If your attention drifts (and it will drift!), just gently guide it back. (Try an app like Calm or Headspace to help you get started!)
- Set a mindfulness alarm throughout the day. Every 2-3 hours when it goes off, stop whatever you’re doing and just check in with yourself: How are you feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally? Just take note and accept whatever the feelings are — remember that there is no good or bad answer here, mindfulness is just about being *aware*.
- Leave mindfulness reminders for yourself. Find a quote or a photo that stands out to you and that reminds you to stay calm, to remain present, and to be true to yourself. Tape it up somewhere (or multiple places!) where you’ll see it regularly throughout the day — maybe on your bathroom mirror, or the refrigerator door, or near your workspace. Each time you notice it in your day-to-day, take a second to internalize the reminder.
Here are 20 powerful quotes about mindfulness, meditation, and being present that can serve as powerful touchstones and reminders when you start to get wrapped up in worries and anxieties. We hope they help you find some inner peace and calm.
- “Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.” - Buddha
- “Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” - Jon Kabat-Zinn
- “You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.” - Pema Chödrön
- “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” - Amit Ray
- “Wherever you are, be there totally.” - Eckhart Tolle
- “The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.” - Thích Nhất Hạnh
- “When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” - Jack Kornfield
- “Step outside for a while – calm your mind. It is better to hug a tree than to bang your head against a wall continually.” - Rasheed Ogunlaru
- “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” - Buddha
- “The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are moments when we touch one another.” - Jack Kornfield
- “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” - Pema Chödrön
- “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.” - Allan Lokos
- “A few simple tips for life: feet on the ground, head to the skies, heart open…quiet mind.” - Rasheed Ogunlaru
- “Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.” - Buddha
- “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” - Jon Kabat-Zinn
- “It is never too late to turn on the light.” - Sharon Salzberg
- “Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.” - Marcus Aurelius
- “The mind is just like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand.” - Idowu Koyenikan
- “Be where you are, otherwise you will miss your life.” - Buddha
- “The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.” - Tara Brach