“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” – Sharon Salzberg
We all have habits.
Repetitive ways of doing things day in, day out.
Now although there is nothing wrong with habits, they can result in you living your life in autopilot mode.
Your intelligent brain is so used to functioning in a habitual manner, that you can complete everyday tasks such as walking, eating, and commuting without being fully present.
You are living in a fast-paced busy world.
Rushing from task to task and place to place every day. It can become easy to mindlessly rush through the day. Easy to get caught up in the usual habits of everyday life.
As a result, these everyday habits become almost trance-like – you’re not fully aware or present of what you are doing.
Too busy to appreciate the small things in life. Operating in autopilot mode.
In this state, life can whizz by in an experienceless manner.
Make a deliberate choice to break one or more of your usual routines every day. Step out of the autopilot way of life and allow yourself to fully experience the present moment!
To help you break those habit, we’ve compiled a list of the best habit-breakers out there!
We suggest that you pick out one or two each day, and give them a try. You are much more likely to be consistent in your approach if you stick to one or two a day.
Here are 10 fantastic examples of habit-breakers that you can have fun trialling:
1. Change your routine commute/shopping trip
This habit-breaker is renown for a reason!
Take a new route to work, the shops, to your friends or anywhere else you go to regularly. You don’t need to plan the route.
IF you get lost… good! Use it as an opportunity to explore somewhere new!
2. Take a cold shower
This might sound a bit drastic but bear with us…
But having a cold shower is a great way to literally shock you into experiencing the present moment. You could even try to just experience it for 15 seconds before switching the soothing warm water back on!
3. Go for a wander around
Try going out for a walk! It could even be around the area you live in.
Use this as an opportunity to walk mindfully. Exploring new places helps promote a mindful experience.
Take the time to notice what you can see, any sounds smells or physical sensations with every step you take!
As you are walking, focus on your bodily sensations. How does it feel when your feet connect with the floor? Focus on the movement throughout your body as you walk.
4. Avoid mindlessly watching TV
Don’t let life pass you by…
Use the time you would usually spend watching TV and invest it something different.
Why not read a book? Try meditating?
5. Strike up a conversation
Whether it’s whilst you’re commuting, queuing, or being served in a shop. It really doesn’t matter where.
Why not strike up a conversation with someone new? We all have something in common – it’s up to you to find out what that is!
6. Play musical chairs
We all tend to sit in the same places each day, whether it is when commuting, at work or when you sit down at the table to eat.
Try sitting somewhere different.
Imagine you’ve been gifted a new pair of eyes. How does your new perspective look? This can be really fun. Particularly if you sit in your usual space, then quickly move to a new place – watch people freak out!
7. Use your non-dominant hand
It might sound silly, but using your non-dominant hand is a really effective way of becoming more aware of the present moment. It is also quite funny too!
8. Take on a new challenge
There is nothing like a new challenge to break old habits. What challenge can you take up?
Find something that excites you…. motivates you… and makes you feel alive!
Learn a new instrument? Go to that sports class you’ve been putting off? Start hiking? Cycling?
There are 1000s of ideas! Embrace a new challenge!
9. Do a random act of kindness
We love this one. It can be anything, be creative!
Why not tailor your act of kindness to the person or situation? Do something meaningful!
In case you’re stuck… Hold a door for someone, say good morning, help an elderly person with their shopping, contact a long lost relative or friend, have a chat with a homeless person, help out at your local charity centre….
The list is endless!
Giving is just as rewarding for the giver as the receiver!
10. Be aware of the present moment
Remind yourself to be fully conscious and aware of the present moment.
Be aware of what you are doing and what is around you.
We recommend finding something that will remind you to be mindful. It could be something as simple as leaving a little note at the bottom of your computer screen, wearing your watch on a different hand or even carrying something that reminds you. It could be something small like a stone!
Here’s a task you can try…
Make a note of 2 or 3 habits you are likely to go ahead and do today. Then, think of an alternative way of doing it!
See how many times you remember to practice your chosen habit-breakers!
If you forget from time to time, don’t criticise yourself!
Remember, you are learning a new skill. A skill that takes you away from the auto-pilot lifestyle and towards the mindfulness lifestyle!