Home » Slow Living » Mindset

How To Be More Mindful With Slow Living Practices

8 minute read

Being mindful is like looking at a comic strip when there is a thought bubble over a character’s head. If you picture yourself in the current moment – what would your thought bubble say about how you feel?

That, in essence, is what being mindful is. It is learning to be aware of how you feel and do things at the moment throughout the day.

Also, being mindful can be an exercise or an approach you apply to everything you do. In other words, it is a way you do something; you can eat, travel, and even stretch in mindful ways.

Being more mindful is a benefit of the slow living lifestyle.

As I point out in my slow living guide, being more mindful is one of the significant benefits of the slow living lifestyle.

In practicing slow living, we learn to be more at the moment and center ourselves, so we notice how we feel and if our mind and body need anything.

For example, suppose I am doing my breathing exercises and notice I am feeling anxious. In that case, I can stop and think about what in my day may be causing that. Is there an event coming up I am nervous about? Did I get enough sleep last night?

With practice, we can identify when we have emotional and physical needs and respond so we stay feeling healthy and positive.

More benefits of practicing mindfulness include reducing stress, anxiety, and depression and lowering our blood pressure. It also helps me sleep more soundly and deal with negative feelings.

For me, practicing mindfulness as part of my slow living experience allowed me to better deal with my emotions and have a more positive outlook on life. This article highlights how you can start practicing being more mindful.

5 Ways To Be Mindful

These mindful suggestions worked for me, and with some practice, they may work for you too.

1. Slow Down The Pace

Slow living is about finding our ideal pace to live life without sacrificing anything you genuinely need or the things you truly want.

When our pace slows, we can focus more clearly on what is happening in our life. When you ride in a car, you see more detail in your surroundings traveling at 10 miles per hour than you would at 80, right?

The same logic applies when we want to reflect on what is happening in our life. A slower pace provides clarity when we try to be more mindful of what is in our day.

2. Practice Frequently

Being mindful is something we can either do as an exercise or an approach you apply to areas of your life and things we do.

Most of the time, I do breathing exercises to calm my mind. Still, sometimes I do them to reflect on how I feel. This is a mindful exercise.

But, I can apply mindfulness to just about anything, and here are a few examples:

  • When I go to a nice restaurant, I slow down when I eat so I can be mindful of how the food tastes. I concentrate on the flavors and textures. I savor the moment. So being mindful in this way increases the pleasure of an experience.
  • When I slow travel, I stay in one location longer, so I really observe the area in more detail than rushing through on a guided one-hour tour. In this case, being mindful when traveling provides a more meaningful experience.
  • When I am stretching and notice my muscles are stiffer than usual, I am mindful of that and think about what might be causing it. Maybe I am bloated from too much salt or feel stressed about something. Awareness of these things while stretching may help me better understand my current wellness.

Being mindful more often keeps us in better tune with how we are feeling and what we are experiencing in life.

Whether we choose to do an exercise or apply it to something, the more frequently we practice being mindful, the more we benefit from it.

3. Live In The Present

Living in the present is the ability to not focus on the past or the future as we live. It is not about completely ignoring the future or the past, just not letting it rule our day.

Living in the present is like driving a car. You mostly look out the windshield to see where you are going (present), but occasionally you look at a map or app (future) and in your rearview mirror (past).

When we live in the present, our life becomes more granular, and we can see and experience things in greater detail.

For example, the other day, I went for a jog around a lake, and while walking back to my hotel, I saw huge, dark storm clouds rolling in. It was beautiful, and I would not have noticed it if not for living in the present.

I stopped and watched them for about 15 minutes and got rained on before I made it back to the hotel. I was present because I saw something beautiful and took the time to appreciate it. I didn’t think about the storm itself or if I would get wet (and I got drenched, lol).

Another example is when living in the present allows us to fix something.

I went to get an Americano (coffee) on the morning of the jog. I am traveling in Da Lat, Vietnam, so English can sometimes be challenging. I tried to explain the order was to go, but the person didn’t understand.

I noticed I took a deep breath and exhaled in frustration. Fortunately, I caught myself getting frustrated, for no reason, I may add, just another human being pissy for no good reason.

I smiled and nodded, then walked over to the to-go cups and pointed. The person smiled and nodded understanding, and l left with my coffee and left a nice tip too.

There are many examples, but living in the present allows us to experience things in life with more detail and clarity.

4. Accept Your Feelings

When you start applying mindfulness in your life, you will get in touch with your feelings. For some, this may be uncomfortable, especially when you first start.

This is entirely normal. You will get better with repetition and want to explore deeper because you are no longer intimidated by your feelings.

However, we must guard against judging our feelings because that defeats the whole point of being mindful.

In my coffee example above, I did not judge myself when I started to get frustrated for no reason. Instead, I corrected my behavior because I did not want to feel frustrated and certainly did not want to be unfair to anyone.

We are humans and gloriously weird, intelligent, stupid, and do things that sometimes defy logic. Embrace that.

We practice being mindful for many reasons: leading a happier, more fulfilling life. So don’t judge how you feel; it is what it is.

If you disagree with how you feel, that is ok; we are allowed to change.

But, when we start judging our feelings, we will never be able to find ways to improve, become who we want, and lead the life we desire.

That may sound like a bunch of tree-hugging hippie bullshit, but I swear it is true.

I’ve been practicing slow living and mindfulness for several years now, and I have gotten to where I can dial in on my feelings.

I don’t always like what I see.

But, that is not only ok; it is the point of practicing mindfulness. If you feel the present is not aligned with your values and beliefs, we get to work on changing that.

It can be a balancing act between knowing when you need to kick yourself in the ass or pat yourself on the back. Both can be healthy, but be kind to yourself when in doubt and accept your feelings.

5. Breathe and Center

As we work on being more mindful, there are times when we benefit from taking a time out and rebooting our brains; breathing exercises are a great way to do that.

Before practicing slow living, I didn’t hold breathing exercises in high regard. In fact, I thought it was a bunch of bullshit, even though I had never tried them. I was a fool.

Breathing exercises are life-changing!

Breathing exercises will calm your mind and body and allows you to reboot your brain to center yourself and your emotions.

There are many opinions on what this all means, but to me, being centered means, you feel calm and at peace with life.

So, breathing exercises are what you do to relax your mind and body. Being centered is the result of doing the breathing exercises.

I’ll explain how I do it, but you should search Google or YouTube for different breathing exercises to try; everyone is different.

Here is a quick overview of what I do, though.

First, I usually allocate anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes for my breathing exercises, so I find a quiet space with little noise and less chance of being interrupted.

Depending on my mood, I will either sit or lay down with my head and shoulders raised (not laying horizontal like I am sleeping, more like sitting up in bed).

I close my eyes and start focusing on my breathing. I do not take deep breaths; I take comfortable full breaths (if that makes sense). You want to feel your lungs be full but not overly inflated.

I like to breathe in and out through my nose but experiment with what feels best for you. Do not take short quick breaths.

After a few minutes, I usually have a consistent breathing pace that is comfortable locked in, and I keep that tempo.

Then for the next few minutes, I ensure my body is relaxed. I mentally start at my feet and relax them until they feel weightless. Then I mentally work my way up my body and do the same. My body is now settled, and I am listening to my breathing.

Yawning is natural.

At this point, my brain usually starts to wander. This is normal, but we want to focus on breathing and not anything else.

Concentrate more on listening to your breathing, but if that doesn’t work, I start gently humming. For some reason, the humming quiets my brain.

I do this for probably another 10 minutes. When I am done, I open my eyes and just stay in my position for a few minutes and allow myself to “wake up.”

I usually come out of this exercise feeling light and worry-free if all goes well. This is what I call being centered.

Not every exercise will work, which is why we do it often.

When you do this often enough, you get really good at it and can even help with other things. Try doing this when you want to sleep (only ensure you are lying down). I fall asleep every time.

Closing Thoughts

Practicing to be more mindful daily is one of the main reasons I lead a happy and fulfilling life.

As I mentioned earlier, I would scoff at being mindful and doing breathing exercises to center myself before practicing slow living.

But fortunately for me, stupidity is not always a chronic condition.

Give these ideas a chance. With enough repetition, they can improve your lifestyle and how you live and view life.

Your mileage may vary, but it sure works for me.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Below is some footer stuff to consider.