New research has suggested that young adults spend an average of five hours a day on their smart phone. Five hours a day! That’s almost a third of most people’s waking hours! The same study also found that most young adults use their phone approximately twice as much as they estimate. The fact that we check our phones twice as much as we think we do means a lot of this is mindless, habitual behavior! Does anyone else find that a little scary?
As much as I want to deny it, I am no exception to these numbers. That’s why I put forth a pretty good fight each day to stay mindful, and living in the present moment, as much as possible.
Here are my top ten tips for staying mindful throughout your day.
- Meditate daily. Bonus points if you do it first thing in the morning. If you are anything like me, and meditation seems like a daunting task, try doing some short, guided meditations. The Headspace app is a great free app with 10 minute guided meditations.
- Write down your top three goals or priority for the day. You can do this first thing in the morning, or you can jot down your goals the night before. If you choose to do the latter option I would recommend quickly looking your goals over in the morning as a refresher.
- Try to do at least one task each day without any distractions. This can be something as simple as eating a meal without multitasking, watching TV, looking at your phone, etc. Or try playing a board game with your family and focus on keeping your mind in the present moment. If you start thinking about other things (planning, worrying, anything of the sort) just gently escort your mind back into the present moment and try to keep it there, enjoying and noticing all the little things.
- Stretch or do yoga first thing in the morning. This is a great way to get your mind in touch with your body. It helps you to clear your mind and focus on the sensations in your body.
- Put your phone on airplane mode for a set number of hours (or at least minutes) each day. I try to do this for the first three hours after my kids get home from school. Time with my kids is the time I want to be at my most mindful and mentally present. I want to enjoy every minute of it (of course I don’t always enjoy every minute of it, lol, but I try)! Any amount of time that you can plan to stay off your phone, and have the self control to adhere to that, will definitely help you to have a more mindful day.
- Journal. Journaling really helps to clear your mind. When you get thoughts down on paper, it frees you from feeling like you need to keep hashing them out in your head. I’m not a big fan of keeping a journal personally, but I’m a huge fan of lists. To-do lists, goal lists, charts, you name it. Whatever helps you get your thoughts organized and down on paper will work.
- Go for a walk. There’s not much that will lift your spirits more than a brisk walk outdoors. The fresh air and movement is invigorating for your mind and body. It doesn’t have to be a long walk either. Research has shown that even a 10 minute walk can help battle anxiety and depression.
- Take time to reflect on your day. I like to take a little time each night to reflect on my day. This is often when I’ll assess what went well, and what I could improve on. I also use this time to make some goals for the following day.
- Slow down. It’s hard these days not to always be in a rush. We lead very busy lives, but if you make an effort to “stop and smell the roses”, you’ll appreciate more of the small things in life. You’ll notice more of the beautiful things around you.
- Take three deep breaths. Taking three deep breaths can help to bring your mind into the present moment. It can also calm anxiety and help you clear your mind. Next time you’re feeling stressed or overstimulated, give it a try!
What do you find helps you to stay more mindful throughout the day? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!