Try these ten informal mindfulness practices and notice what happens. You just might find that you’re changing your relationship to everything, one moment at a time.
1 Self-awareness. Check in with yourself throughout the day. Take a moment to notice what is going on with you. What thoughts, feelings, or physical sensations can you notice?
2 Pause. Sometimes a brief moment of awareness is all it takes to change the next one. Once you have some awareness of your inner experience, figure out how you want to relate to what’s going on around you, your outer experience. If you are unable to speak with love or at least respect, take a break until you can find your balance (kindness helps; see below).
3 Observe thought. Practice observing your thoughts from time to time. Notice how many of them there are and how quickly they change. Pay attention to content and emotional quality. And remember: Don’t believe everything you think. Open web and search “mindfulness near me” and join the courses for better practice.
4 Acceptance. Acceptance is not about agreement but acknowledgment. It’s about saying yes to what’s happening, which is a good idea because, well, it’s happening.
5 Offer kindness. When you are feeling angry, sad, lost or overwhelmed do one kind thing for yourself or for someone else. Then notice how you feel.
6 Gratitude. Develop an “attitude of gratitude.” Each evening, write about or reflect on three things that you are thankful for that day.
7 Compassion. Sometimes we are in such a hurry to fix or change things when we’re suffering that we never learn to deal with our hurt in a healthy way. Next time you’re upset, see if you can soften into your disappointment, fear or anger rather than resist it. You can practice softening into others’ suffering too.
8 Self-talk. Notice how you talk to yourself. You can work with negative self-talk to make it more neutral or positive. For example, if you hear yourself saying “I’m never going to make this work,” try something like: “I’m frustrated right now about _______, so I am going to be kind myself.”
9 Mindful speaking and listening. When you speak, use “I” language to ground yourself in your experience (e.g., this is what I am thinking, feeling, noticing). Use as few words as possible for sake of clarity. For mindful listening, just listen. Practice being present to your children as they speak to you. Sometimes the most important thing is for someone to know that he or she is really being heard.
10 Let go of perfection. When it comes to parenting, life, or anything else, forget about perfection. Perfection is an idea. The truth is that no one and nothing is perfect. Instead of chasing perfection, just do your best, whatever that is. Know that your best will change day-to-day, even moment-to-moment, just like everyone else’s. And remember that when you learn to let go of perfection, you can start letting go of other things that get in your way.