Notice Your Breathing
That’s it. Just notice it. Pay attention to each in and out. Where do you feel it? In your chest? Your stomach. Do your shoulders lift or sag with each breath? Just listening to and feeling your breathing is one way to bring yourself into the moment and you can do it anywhere at any time because you’re always breathing.
Pay Attention to Sensations
No matter what you are doing, no matter how mundane, notice the sensations you are feeling. Washing the dishes? Notice the warmth of the water on your hands. Driving? How you gripping the steering wheel or are your hands resting softly? It’s by noticing these sensations that you might find you’ve been tensing your shoulders and not even noticing. Or that your hands hurt because you were gripping the wheel in traffic. By noticing these sensations, you can begin work to avoid them.
During times of frustration or anger, use your breathing to ebb your frustration. Instead of focusing on the thing that is frustrating, bring your attention back to your breathing. When you find your mind wandering, bring it back to your breathing, you may have to do this a number of times because your mind may wander frequently. But that fine, just practice. The more you do it, the more you will be able to control your emotions and easily turn your frustrations away.
Get Out in Nature
Take some time to escape the things that are always demanding your attention. Work, family, email, the news, text messages, technology in general. Nature is the best place to focus on the things that can bring us peace, rather than the things that pull us in so many different directions.
If you worry you won’t be able to carve out random time in your day to practice mindfulness, pick a specific time and dedicate yourself to that time. Even if it’s just five minutes. Maybe it’s right after you eat lunch, before you get back to work. Maybe it’s in the car on the way to work, or on the way home. Whatever will work for you, set a reminder and stick to it.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes time. Frustration and anger at yourself is the opposite of what mindfulness is meant to do. Start small, with simple breathing and then work from there. Blocking out the world and shutting down your mind will take time, but taking the time to practice is half the battle.