Mindful Living: 16 Ways to Live Mindfully in 2020

Rachel Sharpe
Rachel Sharpe

We should all strive to live mindfully. Mindful living helps us focus on the present moment instead of hanging out in the past which no longer exists or the future which often causes us to hide away in our heads. In the present moment, you have full control over your thoughts, feelings, and actions. It’ll help you shape your future for better or worse. With the mindful living tips featured in this article, you can take some every day actions to live more presently. So, let’s dive into this. 

What is Mindful Living?

Mindful living is about living with awareness in the present moment. The mindful living meaning involves taking care of your actions, words, and feelings to ensure that you live a good and present life. It’s about not letting life pass you by while living in reactions and in your head. It’s about stepping outside into the world to be a good human who practices virtue and who lives in accordance to his or her nature. 

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16 Ways to Practice Mindful Living

1. Cook Your Meals

Woman chopping vegetables on cutting board

If you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, each day you’re gifted with three wonderful opportunities to practice mindful living. Most people throw a meal in the microwave or head out to the local McDonald’s to grab something quick. Nourishing our bodies isn’t easy. With full-time jobs and families to feed, it can be exhausting to cook healthy meals every time. Especially, if you’re one of those people blessed with picky eaters in the family. Many meals can be made in under thirty minutes though. And if you really don’t feel like cooking, a salad takes less than 10 minutes to make. It’s okay to notice the resistance in your body to cooking meals when you’re tired. Allow yourself to feel the resistance and cook a healthy meal anyway. To live mindfully, you need to be aware of the food you’re putting into your body. And that means you’ll have to invest in cooking homemade meals on a regular basis. 

2. Eat Slowly

While cooking is an important part of mindful living so is eating your meal. How often have you gulped your food down in under five minutes while watching a show on Netflix? Did you notice how your food tasted? Probably not. When it comes to mindful living, you’ll want to taste your food thoroughly. What does that entail exactly? About 30 chews for a single bite. At first, your mouth will be swirling with various flavors. But as you inch closer to that 30th bite, your body will be begging you to swallow already. Notice that sensation. Notice how it feels. Become aware of the resistance to keep chewing. Does the food taste different than how it usually does when you practice mindful eating?

We should all strive to live mindfully. Mindful living helps us focus on the present moment instead of hanging out in the past which no longer exists or the future which often causes us to hide away in our heads. In the present moment, you have full control over your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

3. Look Up When You Walk

As you hurry to your next destination, where do your eyes gaze as you walk? For most of us, we’re staring down at our feet. This is a solid practice to ensure you don’t trip or fall. Safety first. But wow, you miss a lot of what happens in the world around you if your eyes are always staring at concrete and shoes. To experience mindful living, you’ll need to change the direction of your gaze. It’s okay to stop for a moment and look up to the sky. Notice any street signs? Maybe a bird flying by? Maybe there’s a plane soaring above you? Watch life happening all around you simply by shifting the focus of your gaze. 

4. Listen to Others

One of the mindful living tips to follow is to listen to others. Of course, you’ve likely heard this sentiment before. And you likely (as I do too) proclaim that “I am listening.” Only it’s much likelier that you are not. Most people are often thinking about their thoughts and coming up with the best thing to say when the person finishes speaking. And it’s true, our thoughts race so fast and do often that they’re hard to ignore. But part of mindful living is to focus on the present moment. And if someone is speaking to you, rather than coming up with the right words to respond with, focus on just hearing their words and listening for any subtle cues. 

5. Notice Content You Consume

After a long day of work, it’s a normal tendency to just turn on the tv and watch the news or a familiar show or movie. However, have you ever noticed that the content you consume ends up shaping how you view the world. Maybe you constantly watch drama on tv and inject some of that drama into your relationship constantly picking fights with loved ones. Or maybe you watch the news every night, and you find yourself constantly judging people for their bad behavior. One of the biggest changes in my life happened when I started consuming positive content each night before bed. After about eight months, I found that I became more compassionate, kind, and mindful of my words and actions. To practice mindful living, switch up the negative content you consume and trade it in for some books about compassion, kindness, communication, and so forth. You might also choose to take a social media detox to help you stay focused on your mindfulness practice. 

6. Watch Life Outside Your Window

Curtains drawn exposing the world outside the window

One of the wonderful things about mindful living is how much beauty you’ll notice in your world. In particular, take a moment to look outside your window. If you want to take it a step further, step outside for a moment. Watch neighbours walk outside. Notice the birds flying around. Maybe there are squirrels or rabbits chasing one another. For a moment, recognize life going on with you watching it. You’ll probably see many little moments of other people’s lives. Without judgment, simply appreciate all that is happening around you. Feel the gratitude that comes with animals enjoying life around you. Experience joy for being able to witness this exact moment. You know, there are trillions of living things that have lived before us that will never witness what you are witnessing. Be amazed by how epic life is and how lucky you are to be a part of it. 

7. Practice Meditation

To practice mindful living, you might want to take up a regular meditation practice. You can choose to watch meditation videos based on your interest such as anxiety, mindfulness, or even focus. You can also install the Declutter The Mind app to practice with a 30-day meditation course to learn how to stick with a regular meditation practice. You’ll also find countless meditations that you can quickly play to help you practice mindfulness so you’ll be more aware of your behaviors and actions even when you aren’t meditating. 

We should all strive to live mindfully. Mindful living helps us focus on the present moment instead of hanging out in the past which no longer exists or the future which often causes us to hide away in our heads. In the present moment, you have full control over your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

8. Track Your Habits

Are you aware of what your habits are? Are they good habits or bad habits? Take some time to get some impartial feedback from friends, family members, and coworkers. Ask them what your worst habits are. Then, decide whether or not these habits are worth keeping or not. Do they make you a better or worse person when they’re in place? Mindful living is all about being aware of how your actions might affect other people. And being honest enough with yourself to know when you need to take a bit of action to make some changes in your life to reach the 2.0 version of yourself. Aim to spend some time fine tuning aspects of yourself to make you a version of yourself that you enjoy being. 

9. Experience Movement

In previous decades, many people worked with their hands and often worked in physical labor jobs. These days sedentary work is becoming more commonplace. We just aren’t moving enough. And the less we move, the less we want to move. It feels uncomfortable for some. Painful for others. Our bodies just aren’t getting enough use of movement. But bodies weren’t created for typing away at a computer all day or for hiding under a blanket marathoning a tv show or movie. We have arms that would be perfect for dancing and legs that feel the need to go for a run. If you have a body that can move, then take some time each day to experience different movements. Follow along to a guided walking meditation to get started. 

We should all strive to live mindfully. Mindful living helps us focus on the present moment instead of hanging out in the past which no longer exists or the future which often causes us to hide away in our heads. In the present moment, you have full control over your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

10. Recognize How You Communicate

In periods of stress or heightened emotions, we tend to communicate poorly. Think back to a time when someone made you feel angry. How did you react? When we choose to react instead of pause, we stray away from mindful living. However, to live mindfully, we need to become aware of how we communicate in tense situations. And life is filled with those moments. We may give a sharp response when we’re tired from work. Or we might be in a state of panic which causes us to communicate brutally. Communication isn’t simply about saying what needs to be said. It’s also about being aware of how those words come across to others. 

11. Live a Life of Non-Attachment

Mindful living is about being aware of our lives in an honest way. And in the spirit of honesty, we need to be aware that one day we will cease to exist. Those who have come before us have already passed and those who come after us will pass too. And yet, we tend to live in a consumption world. We buy, buy, buy. But there’s nothing in this world that we’ll keep. Not one thing. We won’t keep our bodies. We won’t keep our spouse. Not even our children. That phone you’ve glued yourself to. One day it’ll cease to be yours too. Everything in this world that you have and own today isn’t really yours at all. It’s given to you loaned. You’ll lose it one day. It’s important to remember this and focus on the things that really matter such as caring for family and friends. Or spending time to help a person in need. Material possessions aren’t what life is about. So use them to help others when you can. 

12. Show Appreciation of Others Daily

Postcard with the word "thanks!" written on with sharpie

Mindful living involves noticing how wonderful everything is. Especially the people in your life. We often compare ourselves to others. How dreadful we often feel after that behavior. Life isn’t a competition. Our goal isn’t to be better than those around us. We need to be better than who were were ten years ago, a year ago, or even yesterday. Everyday spend at least ten minutes praising someone. Maybe you mail a postcard to a friend telling them 5 reasons why they’re amazing. Or you send a message to a coworker to praise their talent. You could even leave little notes in the lunchbags of your spouse and children telling them what makes them one of your favorite people to be around. By showing appreciation to others, you’ll notice that your life will become more positive. You’ll be naturally bringing in more good into your own life by sharing the goodness you see in others. That’s what mindful living is all about. 

13. Wake Up Early

One of the mindful living tips worth trying is to wake up early. The practice of waking up early isn’t merely about time management and fitting more stuff into your day. It’s actually about gratitude. Waking up early because you’re alive. Some people didn’t have the chance to wake up this morning. By being an early riser, you can watch the sun rise. You can notice the stillness of the morning. You can find a moment of solitude to practice meditation or reflect on your being. You can enjoy the taste of that morning tea or coffee. It’s a moment to smile at the fact that you woke up this morning and have been given another chance to live another day of life. How marvelous! How will you spend your day today?

14. Accept Things As They Are

Mindful living is about knowing your place in the world. There are some things like your reactions and actions that you have control over. However, some things are completely outside your area of control. You can’t control what happens to you, only how you react to it. You can try your best to improve the odds of what happens to you. But sometimes, it’ll rain. Other times, it’ll pour. And some days, the sun will shine brightly even if everything is going wrong. When things are going well, put out as much good into the world as you can. Make life easier and better for those who are struggling. And when things aren’t going well for you, allow them to happen with minimal resistance. Sometimes bad things lead to the construction of a better and stronger you. Change can be painful and scary. But it can also be exactly what you need to become who you are destined to be.

15. Be Kind

Two little girls walking arm in arm

Doing an act of kindness every single day can help you live a mindful life. For example, if you think about doing a kind act each day, you’re thinking ahead of your actions. Thus, you’re able to reflect on what good you want to put out into the world each day. Keep a private journal where you include the good deeds you do each day to help you keep track. Mindful living is about being aware of your actions and by thinking about what good deeds you’ll do today you become aware of how you act in this world. 

16. Pause and Reflect

The last of these mindful living tips is to pause and reflect. Throughout your day, schedule some time to pause on how you’re spending it. If you find that you say something hurtful or negative, aim to apologize for it within a couple of minutes. You can say something like, “I don’t know why I said something so hurtful to you, I’m sorry.” You can take a moment to pause in the morning to strive to take good actions. And in the evening you can reflect on how mindful you were that day. Mindful living doesn’t happen overnight. It’ll take months of practice and even still, you’ll still find that you’re a human who makes mistakes. Just like the rest of us. Aim to try your best as much as you can. And when you fail, learn from it. Study it. Reflect on it. Change your present actions because of it. 

Conclusion

Now it’s time to step into the world a bit more mindfully. Using the mindful living tips in this article, you can now live a more present life while working towards becoming more aware of how you act in this world. Today’s a great day where you can do a lot. You can do acts of kindness, you can let go of pain, you can show appreciation to others, or meditate. How you act is all up to you. And it’s when it comes to your reactions, that’s all in your power. Now step away from your laptop or phone and go practice living mindfully. This magnificent world is a sight to see.

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