A Mindfulness Guide:

The 7 Habits of Highly Mindful People

Leith Brown

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” – Thich Nhat Hahn
How can we live a meaningful life, have you ever thought about that question? A meaningful life is said to be based on three principal human qualities: Wisdom, happiness and love. 
A mindful lifestyle is an essential path towards a meaningful life. One that allows space for acknowledgement, understanding and growth and grants us the wisdom, happiness and love we all need.

I know living a ‘mindful life’ can be a challenge as we may not be accustomed to living in the present moment. Therefore I thought I’d share seven, powerful, mindfulness habits. When practiced daily, these habits will help us appreciate every moment of our lives. Its an experiential learning that only requires a little practice and fits right into each day’s routine. Research has shown that just 10 – 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation each day, has a significant impact on our brains and the way we conduct our lives. 

Mindfulness Habits
Having mindful habits or rituals mean being aware and attentive, on a daily basis, as you move through your day. This is a way of making your life healthier and more fulfilling, rather than mindlessly acting in autopilot mode. Your senses will become alive to what nourishes you and they do so through your attention to what they are engaged with. Try some of these habits in this guide, and just see how you feel. It is not mandatory that you have to follow all of them. Remember, it’s not a competition; it’s just what you notice and not about what you’re meant to notice or what anyone else notices.

1. Be Mindful when you wake up in the morning. When you wake up in the morning before you get out of bed, bring your attention to your breathing. Locate where the breath sensations are most noticeable – in the abdomen, at the nostrils – and ‘surf’ with full awareness on those breath waves, fully in the moment. Observe five mindful breaths. This will give you a great start as you awaken slowly to face the new day. Remember, each breath is full of new life, unlimited energy and dependable support. You may wish to do this sitting over the side of the bed or on a chair. Experiment by expanding your awareness around your breath until it includes a sense of the body as a whole, breathing.

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again” – Thich Nhat Hahn

2. Be Mindful when taking a shower/bath and brushing your teeth. Usually when we brush our teeth we think about everything except focusing on what we’re doing. Try this: Attend to the working surface – where the brush makes contact with the teeth or gum. What do you notice? Can you simply let the toothbrush clean your teeth or do you have to do it? See if you can let the tool (the toothbrush) do the work it’s designed for. Notice if you have preoccupying concerns about cleaning your teeth properly or what a chore it is each day, or not having enough time to do it properly, or that you have no concerns at all? Similarly for showering or taking a bath, try to feel the sensation of the water on your skin. Be mindful when washing your body or your hair, and when drying yourself afterwards. It will be an amazing experience if you pay attention to it fully.
3.Be Mindful when eating. With whom do you eat your meal? With your TV, ipad, mobile phone or newspaper? If you eat your food with all these distractions, it means you’re not actually enjoying your food and probably means you’re eating it mindlessly. Food is about nourishment by means of taste, smell, sight and texture. Give attention to your each and every bite. Bring awareness to seeing your food, smelling your food, tasting your food, chewing your food. The direct experience of eating food mindfully, means we bring into being as much nourishment from the fullness of its flavour, with every bite, as we are consciously able to savour.  
4.Be Mindful when listening and talking. Can you pay full attention without agreeing or disagreeing, or planning what you will say when it’s your turn? Can you suspend judgement? When talking can you just say what you need to say without overstating or understating? Can you listen to what you are saying whilst you are speaking? In the present moment there is only one speaker and one audience. Can you create this space when you connect with someone?
5.Be Mindful when working. We spend much of our life working and because of our busy, fast-paced lives we easily forget to be mindful. Define and prioritise one task at a time and fully attend to it. Break up the task into manageable bites. Make full use of the correct ‘tools’ at your disposal and trust in them to do the job they are designed for (computer keyboard, iron or dish cloth). Set yourself a realistic time frame to complete each bite and stick to it. Pause by placing your attention on your breath after each completion or when the going gets tough. Return your attention fully to the task when you get distracted. Acknowledge each completion as a mindful step. Try these hints whether you’re studying, working around the home, working for someone in a job or have your own business. This practice, in itself, can cultivate great focus and mindfulness.
6.Be Mindful when walking. We walk all the time, but usually it is more like running. Are you rushing? Walking mindfully is really about enjoying the walking—walking not in order to arrive, but just for walking, to be in the present moment, and to enjoy each step. Therefore you have to shake off all worries and anxieties, not thinking of the future, not thinking of the past, just enjoying the present moment. Anyone can do it. It takes only a little time, a little mindfulness, and the wish to be happy. “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet”, says Thich Naht Han. So, walk a little slower, pay attention to the ground under your feet, feel the air on your face, arms and legs as you walk. Notice your breathing and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, objects, colours, lights and sounds. 
7.Before going to sleep at night. Sitting on the side of your bed or lying down in bed, take a few minutes and bring your attention to your breathing. Allow yourself to notice any underlying mood or energy that is running, expanding your awareness into them, bringing them into focus with a sense of allowing and acceptance. Gradually release them, little by little, as you let each breath out. Become aware of any thoughts and feelings that are about with curiosity and kindness, and also let them go, bit by bit, with each out-breath. Once your mind is calmer, expand your attention into the body with each breath. Allow yourself to relax with a sense of acceptance and ease, as you prepare to go to sleep. This is the end of your day, a time to gain rest and nourishment. Mindfully put down all of those things that you have taken-up during your day. You can pick them up again tomorrow, if they still apply. 
Thank you for reading this mindfulness guide. I hope it helps you to be more mindful. If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness and how it can help you, or perhaps you’re interested in attending a taster event or a course, please contact me.
Here is my website: http://www.bmindful.co.uk you can email me on: info@bmindful.co.uk

Leith Brown.