When you hear the words “mindfulness,” “meditation,” or “grounding,” what do you envision? Is it someone sitting cross-legged in a silent room with their eyes closed, candles burning, and the lights dimmed? While that’s certainly one beautiful form of reaching a mindful, meditative state, it’s certainly not the only way. You don’t need to fit into a particular mold to live mindfully. Maybe you’re a jump-up-and-go morning person, a busy parent, or are working from home and just lack those few minutes to sit and truly unwind. Trust me, I get it. If you’re striving to be more present and grounded, the most important thing is discovering practical mindfulness tips that work for you, your personality, everyday routine, and personal goals.
Today I’m sharing 17 practical mindfulness tips and practices that have made a positive impact on my life. They’re quick, simple, effective, and they don’t all need to be done every single day. These lifestyle habits can aid in reducing stress and anxiety, and can also help to improve your ability to remain present and mindful, even throughout a super busy schedule. They may not all work for you, and that’s totally fine—incorporating just a few is attainable and still effective. That’s what makes them practical!
My intention today is to inspire and invite you to store these practical tips for mindfulness in your spiritual back pocket so you can implement some of them into your daily routine.
1. 15-Second Gratitude Practice
- Mentally pause for a moment, shutting out everything happening around you.
- Inhale deeply as you reflect on the positivity in your life.
- Exhale slowly and acknowledge one thing that makes you feel gratitude right now. Feel it, embrace it, appreciate it, and then go about your day.
- Do this short practice twice more throughout the day, and your whole perspective and vibe can shift. All it takes is a few seconds.
2. Journaling & Setting Your Intentions
Journaling can truly change your life, and all it requires is a few minutes, a few days each week. It aids in organizing your thoughts, setting goals, and coming to realizations about what you’re feeling and experiencing by sorting things out on paper. You don’t need to write a novel every single day. Sometimes you may not even feel like you have anything to say, but this too may be worth noting. Journaling can guide you through your feelings and lead you to many self-discoveries.
By spending a few minutes in the morning noting your intentions for the day, what you will manifest, and what you will aim to release, you can shift from thinking or saying you’re going to do something, to actually meaning it.
3. Early to Bed (Sometimes)
I’m a night owl by nature. Luckily, my husband is not, and he’s helped me reach balance by opening my eyes to the beauty of going to bed earlier. Going to bed early feels the best the next day. That’s when you’ll really thank yourself. It comes from a mental place more so than a physical one: gifting your mind and body with quiet, calm, and rest. Proper sleep is balancing and medicinal, and so when we take the opportunity to go to bed early just a couple of nights each week, it’s almost like plugging in and allowing our mind, body, and soul to recharge, revive, and rebalance.
4. Late to Bed (Occasionally)
This isn’t in opposition to the practice above. It’s about balance. While it’s certainly true that ample sleep is a magical wellness tool, I don’t think that “early to bed” is always a realistic option, and it’s not always desired, either.
Sure, after chasing a one-year-old and working all day, I’m freaking exhausted, but I’m just not always ready for sleep yet. My brain needs time to unwind and embrace the quiet of the world around me. Sometimes you hit the pillow at 9 p.m., but sometimes it feels just as good to stay up by yourself and watch some trash TV. This can be incredibly therapeutic. If you want to add in that glass of wine, then do you! Don’t feel bad about any of it.. Remember that you are worthy of time to be present and with yourself, and this is a realistic way it can be attained.
5. Extra Early to Rise (Now and Then)
I was never one to jump out of bed in the morning growing up. Ask my mom and she’ll cringe at the memory of trying to wake me up for school.
Adult life totally changed that. First, I had to wake myself up for class in college, and then for a job, the gym, and now for a baby. So I really didn’t have a choice in this shift, did I?
But, blessing in disguise, I say! Now, one of my favorite things to do is to wake up at 5 a.m. a couple of mornings each week. Whether it’s to catch up on work, do some journaling, cook and develop a new recipe, or work out, it’s just this intensely calm, soothing time.
Don’t check your phone, social, or email. The world is silent, everything is absolutely still, and it feels so awesome to have accomplished something before the universe around you has even begun to hustle and bustle. As the sun begins to rise, it’s like a gentle alarm clock for the actual day to begin. Now you’re accessible, but anything before that is sacred quiet time all for you. 5 a.m. sounds crazy to a lot of people, but just give it a try some morning and see how it makes you feel.
Bonus Tip: If you wake up at 5 a.m., you’ll probably feel VERY ready for that book and bed by 9 p.m.
6. Break a Sweat
Elle Woods said it best: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!” In addition to this amazing ability, exercise (and the act of sweating) also releases toxins and toxins can royally mess with our bodies and minds.
Next time you work out, put on some music, be present in whatever kind of movement makes you feel joy, strength, and power. It doesn’t have to be high intensity or extra time-consuming. Take a swift walk with your fur baby, go outside and do some cardio intervals, play hide and seek with your kids, clean your apartment. The point is, breaking a sweat rids us both mentally and physically of toxins, and literally helps to pump joy into our brains, making us feel calm, relaxed, and present.
7. Take a Hot Shower with Spa Music
Most people can’t make it to the spa every month, let alone weekly or daily. Next time you shower, bring your phone into the bathroom and search ‘spa, reiki, meditation, or yoga’ to find calming music. Opt for no lyrics or voices, just sound waves that will calm your body and balance your mind. I’ve had many spiritual guides and wellness experts advise me to treat the warming water as white light when it hits my body, showering myself in positivity, calming energy, and protection that shields from negativity and toxicity. If you can, try to do this in the morning to ground and calm before a busy day, and at night to wash off the energies of the day as you prepare to rest up and start anew.
8. Use Lemon & Ginger
Since it’s so widely suggested, I’ve opted not to preach here about a daily morning cup of warm water with lemon and ginger. So, I’m sharing a few other ideas for incorporating these little detoxifying powerhouses into your day because when our minds are sharp and detoxified, we can be more present and mindful:
- The easiest way is to throw a few lemon wedges and ginger chunks into your big reusable water bottle and just refill throughout the day. Cucumber is a great addition, too!
- Soups (check out my Cleansing Ginger Soup and Cleansing Portobello Noodle Soup)
- Afternoon pick-me-up bevvy with ginger (like this Warming Turmeric Latte)
- Smoothies: add fresh or ground ginger and freshly squeezed lemon juice into the mix
- Fresh lemon juice and/or shaved ginger over salads or in homemade dressings
- Add fresh ginger and lemon rind to baked goods (shave it in using a Microplane)
9. Get a Beautiful Planner & Jot Down a To-Do List
Does the mere activity of shopping for a planner spark joy for anyone else? Since everyone’s brain works differently, make it your mission to find a planner that makes you feel organized. If the act of shopping for a planner doesn’t really motivate you, getting into the habit of jotting down a daily to-do list will. Establishing daily priorities, setting short and long-term goals, feeling organized, and getting your thoughts in order will calm your mind and reduce a whole lot of potential stress. It’s also super invigorating to cross things off the list as you go! Keeping calm and grounded is key to living mindfully.
10. Stay in Your Lane & Be Happy for Others
Feeling jealous and negative about the joy and success of others can make you bitter and toxic over time. Genuine happiness for others 100 percent contributes to your own level of contentment and, as a result, impacts your ability to be present, experience gratitude (see 15-Second Gratitude Practice Above), and truly appreciate the blessings that surround you. Some healthy reminders:
- Being happy for others doesn’t take anything away from you. Having a competitive spirit is one thing, but we’re not here in this life to rise up by pulling others down. It’s useless. Ground yourself and regroup.
- Don’t measure your happiness or success based on someone else’s. Stop fixating on what other people have or what you don’t have, and start looking at all that you do have.
- The grass is not always greener. Focus on watering your own and you’ll thrive more happily internally and externally.
- Keep in mind that you can’t fake your karma. You get back the genuine energy you put out into the world.
11. Compliment or Smile at a Stranger
I know we’re wearing masks right now, but eyes can smile too. Just a quick friendly glance or compliment can transform someone’s day. You never, ever know what someone else is going through and one kind gesture may pump a little bit of hope and love into their heart in the very second they need it most. It might not change their entire life, but if you could so easily lighten someone’s burden or make them feel one moment of relief throughout their day, why wouldn’t you? It’s practically effortless.
12. Get Fresh Air
I grew up on this philosophy and I am teaching the same thing to my child. Fresh air is cleansing. Inhaling and exhaling and physically connecting to nature just by being present in it can clear your mind, ease digestion, calm your nerves, and just bring you to a place of feeling grounded and here in this moment.
Can’t get outside for a few? Open a window and take a few deep breaths from inside. You’ll still feel refreshed, more alert, and that sense of rejuvenation that only fresh air provides.
13. Find the Natural Light
Studies show that exposure to natural light increases serotonin, a hormone that our brain releases which is connected to improved moods and feeling calm, focused, and grounded. You don’t need to be outside to receive sunlight, you can do this right from the comfort of your own couch, desk, or bed. Simply turn off the artificial lighting in your home and thrive on natural light. I do this every single day until it’s getting dark and I have to turn some lights on to see. It’s so relaxing and reduces stress, headaches, and the electric bill!
14. Burn Sage
Burning sage has become super trendy, but it really is a healthy and effective practice for cleansing both your mind and body, as well as the space, air, and energy that surrounds you. Sage is rich in compounds that activate receptors in your brain that elevate mood, reduce stress, and alleviate pain and tension. I sometimes leave it burning in the room for general energy and air cleanse as I work, but I find it even more effective to take a few minutes and burn sage as a spiritual exercise before doing so.
Begin by acknowledging your blessings with gratitude and awareness, which instantly sets a positive, welcoming tone for continued love, health, and prosperity. Then, set your intention(s) and focus on this throughout your sage burning practice: What energy do you want to pull in or release? What do you want to manifest in your life? Tell it to the universe—visualize it, trust it, and welcome change.
Open a window so the energy can flow and shift as needed. Starting at a door, move around the edges of your space. Use a clockwise rotation to draw in positive energy, inspiration, and motivation, and counter-clockwise to release negative and toxic energy or thoughts that do not serve you.
15. Take a Mental Vacation
Travel gives to us endlessly: joy, adventure, culture, education, a calm yet exhilarating sense of excitement, and much more. These experiences can make us feel so present and grateful but unfortunately, this isn’t an option for many of us right now. If you aren’t traveling, I encourage you to take a mental vacation or embark on an at-home or local adventure. The experience can bring about those calming, grounded, feel-good vibes that can only be experienced through travel and exploration. Here are some ideas:
- Watch travel-based shows or movies based in cities you love or long to visit.
- Look through photos from your travels, or create a travel album or scrapbook.
- Take a virtual museum tour.
- Explore different travel blogs or podcasts.
- Take a local day trip or explore a different neighborhood in your city.
- Experience a new cuisine with a socially distanced outdoor or delivery meal, a virtual cooking class, or by cooking yourself right at home.
16. Create a Cozy Environment
Your home should be your center, your balance, the place you come back to (or these days, rarely leave) for relaxation and a safe space. Whether you love muted or vibrant colors, weighted or lightly woven blankets, big plush pillows or firm cushions, let your home embody your perfect cozy. From decor and scent to pictures and art, the power is in your hands to curate the perfect space that cultivates a mindful state.
17. Compartmentalize Your Day
The challenge here is that we’re always accessible, right? Our phone, email, and laptop can travel literally anywhere in the world with us. We’re more accessible than ever because the new “office” is always right there at home, calling to us, and providing very little change of setting between the segments in our day. It’s a struggle for sure, but making an effort with little habits that compartmentalize your day can make a real difference in your mind/body balance.
One easy thing that really helps me to shift from “work time” to “home time” is that hot shower with relaxing music that I mentioned above. When I emerge from that little break period, I try my best to remember that the workday is now over, and it’s time to relax my shoulders, calm my mind, and turn the mental volume down before going to bed.
Some other easy ways to compartmentalize in your daily routine:
- Take a 10-minute coffee break without looking at work emails or messages.
- Go outside and take in a 10-minute walk for fresh air.
- Make revisions or cross off some accomplishments on your to-do list.
- A quick stretch and body check-in: drop your shoulders, unclench your jaw, sit up straight.
- Pause work to cook a nutritious meal. Be present in the process of putting it together and enjoying it slowly.
- Relocate to a different table or different area in your home for meals.
Have any other practical tips that you use in your mindfulness practice? Let us know in the comments below.
Main image by Christine Fiorentino