10 tips for a more mindful and fulfilling day

Today I want to share a small but beautiful blog post with you. Actually it was the first blog post I ever wrote (in Dutch, but I translated it in English :)) 4 years ago, on the 10th of May 2015. In my search for a more fulfilling and connected life I stumbled upon mindfulness as a tool to learn to be in the present and become more aware of my thoughts, emotions and body sensations. I followed a 8 week MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) program and I also took a teacher training afterwards.

I remember being very enthusiastic about it. But at times I was also struggling with the discipline, not finding (or taking) the time to do the meditation exercises. When I look back on it, I didn’t feel resistance about the concept of meditation itself, but about the way that it was often presented. During several years of practice I often heard in trainings (from teachers or other participants) that you have to sit still for at least 1 hour in order to be a ‘good’ meditator.

For a perfectionist like me this ‘die-hard attitude’ already put pressure on me before I even got started. It also felt like the opposite of being kind and compassionate with myself. However, after some years of practice, I understood that a certain set of rules doesn’t make you a good or bad meditator. It’s just about how we perceive it… (read more about perception in my previous blogpost)

You can be mindful anytime and anywhere

With time I discovered that any way is good to step out of your mind and connect with the present moment. Whether you’re walking, writing, listening to your breath or just staring at a tree or flower, you can be mindful anytime and anywhere. And that’s exactly what my little blogpost was (and is) all about.

When I read it again to translate it in English, I was touched by the simplicity (and maybe also the naivety 🙂 ) of it. 10 simple but beautiful tips that can help us to be more mindful during our busy day. In these times where we are overloaded with spiritual tools, books, guidelines and courses, these elementary instructions are very accessible, heartwarming and immediately applicable. So, I will no longer test your patience 🙂 Here are my 10 tips for a more mindful and fulfilling day (free and always available :)).

10 tips for a more mindful and fulfilling day

1.Get up 15 minutes earlier than usual, make a cup of coffee or tea, and just sit and do nothing for 15 minutes. Observe how the day begins, with all your senses.

2. Smile at a stranger each day. Whether you’re in your car, in the subway or walking in the street. You’ll both enjoy it 🙂

3. Before or after a busy moment, close your eyes for a minute (in the bathroom if necessary :)) and breathe in and out 3 times very slowly. No one can take this precious little break away.

4. When you’re cooking or eating, just take a moment to consider the abundance of products and ingredients available to us every day. Not to feel guilty about it, but to be aware that it cannot be taken for granted.

5. Ask yourself once or twice a day how you are doing. It’s not a superfluous luxury!

6. Take a short stroll in a park during lunch break or after work and sit down on a bench for 10 minutes. Observe nature, smell the flowers and enjoy the sun on your face or the wind through your hair.

7. Put on one of your favourite songs and dance like crazy 🙂

8. Treat yourself to a cup of tea and something delicious and enjoy 200% of every sip and every bite. Do nothing but that, ALL the rest can wait for a while.

9. Watch the birds occasionally. Follow their flight and see how, after a few strong blows against the wind, they suddenly float down in free fall. What a wonderful feeling…

10. Name 3 things that you were thankful for that day, before going to sleep.

Paying attention to what’s obvious

Is this new? Of course not. Most of these things are very obvious. But that’s also why we forget to pay attention. And that struck me. We’re often looking for more complicated, sophisticated and expensive solutions to improve our wellbeing. But there is so much that is out there for free, even just around our corner!

I’m very grateful that I dug up this text again. Because it’s a reminder for myself to keep things simple. To not go searching too far. To just keep my eyes open and observe. And to know that a little help to get through the day is right there and within my capacities. I just have to make the choice to commit myself. And every day I get a new chance to do that.

I wish you all a mindful and fulfilling day 🙂