Eight mindfulness habits to boost your everyday happiness
Our tip tops to help you increase your happiness every day, from conscious breathing to mindful eating and taking time to rest and reflect on your day.
Finding happiness and retaining it is a shared goal among nearly everyone. Whether you’re going through a rough patch or at a stable level of happiness there is always room for improvement. That’s why we’ve put together this guide of 8 mindfulness habits to help boost your everyday happiness.
Below we’ve listed tips that you can use in your daily life, designed to help you make positive changes. These include things like becoming more aware of your surroundings, connecting with others, and understanding your own actions and thoughts. By following these simple tips, you can learn a few hacks to mindfulness which promise to elevate your everyday joy.
1. Start your day mindfully
Starting your day mindfully is a great way to improve happiness. Instead of rushing out of bed when the alarm clock rings, take a few moments to breathe deeply and consciously. Appreciate this time you have for yourself before the rush of the day. Focus on your breath, or get up and stand up slowly, really feeling the sensation of your feet touching the floor as you rise.
These small acts of mindfulness can add a touch of serenity to your mornings and set a positive tone for the rest of your day. They can make you feel grounded both mentally and physically. Remember to keep your smartphone aside during this precious time you have to yourself.
If you’re looking for more tips to start your morning off right, then check out our guide on how to create a morning routine to boost your mood.
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2. Breathe consciously and with awareness
The next mindfulness hack for improved happiness is focused on the way you breathe. Many of us go through life not really thinking about our breath, but with practice, breathing exercises can help you reduce everyday stress and bring your mind into the present moment.
There’s no coincidence that yoga, which calms the mind and sharpens clarity, focuses so much on breathing. To help you feel the benefits of breath work in your life, it is recommended to start by practising deep abdominal breathing.
You should allow your abdomen to rise as you inhale big breaths slowly through your nose. You should then perform a controlled exhale through your mouth and repeat. Set aside a few minutes each day for this conscious breathing exercise, and with time, you'll effortlessly incorporate it into your daily routine. A calmer, less stressed mind should be the result.
3. Engage with all of your senses
The world today is busy and chaotic. There is so much going on that it can be easy for us to try and block out certain senses to make our lives easier or calmer. Whether that’s the noise of the train on your way to work, the smell of the binmen outside your door, or the sun as you drive, we’re prone to blocking out our five senses.
Constantly doing this on a day to day can make it easy to overlook the small joys and wonders around us. So, take a break from the hustle and bustle and engage your senses from time to time. Going for a walk can be a delightful example of this and a way to connect with your surroundings.
Observe people, animals, and intricate details of buildings and nature. Listen attentively, analyse the colours around you, touch the grass, smell the flowers and even taste the aroma in the air. These small acts can give you an appreciation of what’s around you and gratitude for what you have on your doorstep.
If you want to take it one step further, why not have a look at our guides to open water swimming or our guide to cold water therapy? Both of these activities are designed to engage all of your senses when practised properly.
4. Take a break and recharge
Wake up, go to work, eat, watch TV, sleep, go to the gym, pick the kids up from school, see your friends, visit the in-laws, go on holiday, pay the bills, etc. The rush of life doesn’t stop for anyone, and it can often lead to people feeling overwhelmed and stressed. It’s up to you to take control of this.
You need to take regular breaks in your life to recharge, not just physically but also mentally. An easy way to do this is by closing your eyes, taking a deep breath, and allowing your thoughts and feelings to come into focus. By pausing and being present, you can gain a deeper understanding of yourself and how you’re feeling.
If you find it challenging to do this, try briefly paying attention to different parts of your body, bringing your awareness back to the present moment. This ability to pause and centre yourself reduces the risk of reacting impulsively in stressful situations.
If it’s work that’s causing you unnecessary stress, then check out our guide on how to create a productive workspace, with tips on how to reduce stress at work and improve desk posture.
5. Think about what you’re eating
The demands of daily life mean that we often neglect important areas without really thinking about them. One of these is our diet. What we eat has a significant impact on our physical and mental well-being, so it shouldn’t be overlooked!
Practising mindful eating involves not only nourishing your body with fresh ingredients but also adopting a mindful approach to your meals. Listen to your body's signals and eat only when you're truly hungry (no more mindless snacking). When you sit down for a meal, create a distraction-free environment by turning off screens and work-related matters.
Do your best to relish every bite (no matter how cringy that may feel). Eat slowly, and pay attention to your body's fullness cues to avoid overeating. Finally, incorporate healthy, fresh ingredients into your diet to provide the nutrients and minerals needed for physical and mental health. In short, eat everything in moderation and try to focus on what your body needs to be healthy, not always what it wants.
6. Engage properly in your conversations
How often do we find ourselves in conversations where we're physically present but mentally elsewhere? Your manager asks you a question during a meeting, and you desperately scramble to remember what was just said.
Or, you’re at a dinner party and can’t help thinking about what’s for dessert and not the person speaking. Try practising mindfulness in conversations, as it can help deepen our connections with others. Start by paying attention not only to the words spoken but also to facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice.
Repeat parts of the conversation in your head to enhance your memory and understanding. By actively listening and engaging with others, we can cultivate meaningful and fulfilling relationships and more space for genuine connection. If you’re finding this hard, then why not check out our five tips for better focus and concentration?
7. Leave no trace
You may have heard this phrase if you’ve been to a UK festival, but there is more to it than just encouraging people to pick up litter. It is focused on everyone striving to leave every place better than they found it.
If you drop something, pick it up. Wash dishes promptly after using them. Clean your house straight after a party. These simple acts of mindfulness not only make a difference but also cultivate awareness of our direct influence on the world around us. This can be global, right down to the impact you have on those you live with.
Being aware of the impact you have can lead to feelings of responsibility and empowerment as you can appreciate what impact you can have on others for the good. Making others happy can, in turn, boost your own happiness.
8. Reflect on your day
Before you drift off to sleep, take a moment to reflect on your thoughts and experiences from the day. Embrace gratitude as a daily practice and pay attention to the little things that bring joy and appreciation to your life. If you're struggling with where to start, try some of these questions: What happened to me today? How did I feel? What can I learn from today? What am I grateful for?
You can do this in your head, or it might help to jot it down in a journal (if you want to learn more, check out our guide on how to start a mindfulness journal). Ending your day on a positive note and expressing gratitude can cultivate a sense of contentment and help you look forward to the next day with anticipation.
If you want more expert tips and recommendations, check out our page on wellness, which includes guides on breathing exercises for a better sleep, how to create a productive workspace, how to tackle tiredness and tips for better sleep, according to experts.
Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.