As millennials, we tend to get so caught up in the hustle of working toward our goals. Because of this, we don’t often remember to pause, to be mindful of our surroundings, and to enjoy where we are in that moment. As much as I respect the hustle, I think taking a step back from the chaos and taking some time for mental health is just as important.
Mindfulness is a practice on the rise. The concept is simple: to be mindful is to be fully present and in the moment. The mindful person is aware of the present and actively engaged in what’s happening. Practicing mindfulness can help you become more focused in the classroom or at work. So here are a few habits that you can use to stay mindful.
1—Take a hike. No, seriously, do it. Get up and get moving! There’s something about the fresh air, sunshine, and exercise that boost your mood no matter what. In my opinion, the best time is in the morning, when you can watch the sunrise and take the time to ground yourself or meditate before you start your day. I take my favorite pair of leggings and boots for hiking.
2—Pick up a pen. Start a journal or at least a list of things that are in your life that you are grateful for; whether it’s the people in your life, the things you have, the goals you are working toward, or the opportunities that have come your way. I love writing in this classic leather journal. Making a list of positive things gets your mind off of whatever is stressing you out. Be sure to call the people on your list and let them know how much they mean to you.
3—Connect with a friend. When a friend is talking, how often do we really listen? While in conversation, my mind is often guilty of wandering off to the next thing on my to-do list or thinking about the next topic I want to bring up. So next time you’re catching up with a friend, really listen to what they’re saying and ask more about it. Genuinely listening lets a person know that you care about them and that they are important to you.
4—Read a good book. Reading engages your mind and stimulates creative thought. If you’re stuck in a creative rut, a book might be the key. While you want to pick one that’s interesting, try also one that could be a little challenging for you. Mary Oliver’s poetry is one of my favorites because she practices mindfulness in such a vibrant, deep way.
5—Put your phone on airplane mode. You knew this was coming. The biggest enemy to mindfulness is distraction, and the biggest distraction to a millennial is a smartphone. So silence your phone for a little bit and go forth.
What do you do to stay present? Did you try any of these tips? Let us know in the comments below!