Mindful Living Daily Checklist
A Simple Microhabit for Training Your Mind
Do you often find yourself worrying about the future or dwelling on the past? Are you stressed out by your monumental To Do list or can't let go of a conversation that didn't go too well earlier in the week? Or maybe you feel especially distracted and can't seem to stop scrolling down on your Facebook Newsfeed.
You may have read about how meditating can help you calm and focus your mind. We highly recommend it if you're willing to give it a try. We also know that it's a habit that takes discipline and commitment. For those of you who haven't yet ventured into meditation or feel that you're not ready for it yet, we've developed a very simple daily exercise that you can do to get some of the benefits that may come from meditation.
Our Mindful Living Daily Checklist is extremely simple. It's designed as a microhabit that you can easily complete without much effort. The key is to keep at it and get it done every day.
How It Works
Each day, pick three things from The Mindful Living Master List. Those three items will be your Daily Checklist. Your goal by the end of the day is to complete the activity indicated on those items. The activities will take you very little time and you'll be able to do it all in your mind.
As you feel more and more comfortable doing three items, you may experiment with adding another item, making it four per day. You're also free to keep on repeating the same items every single day or to switch it up as you see fit. The only requirement is that you do at least three and that you keep it up daily--don't break the chain!
Are you ready to begin?
The Mindful Living Master List
- Morning, after waking up: When you wake up in the morning, rather than letting your mind start racing with worries about the day ahead, take a moment to note how you feel after a night of rest and congratulate yourself on waking up to another day filled with possibilities. Do this while laying down, your eyes wide open, or sit up in bed and take a few deep breaths as you focus on the fact that you’re in your bed, ready to make the first move of a great morning.
- During your shower: While taking a warm hot shower, think about how pleasant the sensation is on your skin and how lucky you are to have hot water on demand to clean yourself every day.
- During a walk: While walking outside, notice how your body is able to easily coordinate all of its parts to let you take one step after another. Note how each step on the pavement feels and how automatically your body is able to put one foot in front of the other. Try to count up to 20 steps as you get from one place to another.
- Breathing: Take a deep breath with your nose and breathe out through the mouth. Do this five times. Note how easily you can do this and how nice it feels to enrich your body with air. Appreciate how little effort it takes for your lungs to bring air into the body and then to release it.
- Eating: As you take the first bite of a meal, slow down and really try to taste it. Chew the food slowly for a bit longer than you usually do. Think about each of the flavors that hit your tastebuds and how they work together.
- Putting on clothes: When you change into a fresh set of clothes in the morning, take a moment to note how the fabric feels against your skin. Do you like how soft it is? Do you like how it fits? Do you like how it makes you feel warm? Try to spot the positive things you appreciate about your clothing and focus on that feeling for a moment longer than you’re used to.
- Drinking water: When you take your first sip of water in the morning, slow the entire process down and try to feel as much of it as you can. Note how the water feels as it touches your lips and mouth and works its way down your throat and esophagus. Can you feel the water as it continues to spread throughout your body? Try to linger on the sensation of that first sip for as long as you can.
- Drinking coffee/tea: If your first sip is of a warm drink, like coffee or tea, slow everything down as well. Note how the warm mug feels in your hand. Take a few deep breaths to capture the full aroma of the drink. As the drink cools down a bit, let the smell continue to waft as you try to let it all in and focus on the sensation and the smell. When you’re finally ready to take a sip, do it slowly and note the taste and the sensation throughout your body as you swallow.
- Before falling asleep: As your head hits the pillow and you start to ready your mind for bed, try to focus on the present: your head, sinking into your pillow, your eyes closed, your breathing starting to slow down. Let go of whatever might have happened during the day or whatever is in store for you tomorrow. Just let your mind linger on the darkness, the resting position, and the quiet of the night.