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Where to start? 5 ways to a more mindful life without meditating

You’ve heard this mindfulness malarkey is meant to be good for you. But where do you start if you’re not really into the whole meditation thing?

Start small.

Any one action that you do today, will make it easier to do tomorrow. And the next day. Remember, progress is the goal, not perfection.

But if you fall off the wagon, or something isn’t working for you – shake it up!

You don’t need to throw the whole thing away. Just customise it for you. What feels like a better way for you?

Try one of the actions below that sticks out for you…

1. Commit to a time of day:

If you’re a routines kind of gal, pick a time of day to check in with yourself. This could be first thing when you wake up, maybe over your morning coffee, or once the kids are in bed.

Just take a moment to ask yourself, “How are you feeling?”, “How does your body feel?”, “Are there any strong emotions?”

Check in with your surroundings, “What can you hear, see, or smell?”

2. Set an alarm on your phone:

When was the last time you did nothing? Like, nothing. Not on your phone, not walking somewhere, not eating, talking… just observed the moment.

Try stopping for 1 minute and do nothing. See how it feels. Get curious. Is it frustrating? Do you feel guilty, like you should be doing something? Does 1-minute feel like an eternity?!

Just allow these thoughts and feelings to come up and be there. There’s no right or wrong way – just notice what’s going on for you.

What time of day could you stop for 1 minute? Perhaps when boiling the kettle.

Practice increasing the time from 1 to 2 mins and work up to 5 minutes when you feel ready.

3. Create a personalised desktop or phone background:

You don’t have to be Picasso to create something inspiring. Make it a monthly ritual to collage some magazine pictures or dive down that Pinterest hole and find a new background that inspires you. Perhaps it’s a quote, an aspirational goal or beloved pet. It’s a great way to train your brain, reminding yourself of your ‘bigger why’. Focusing on things that uplift you puts you in a better state of mind, meaning you show up differently, with more space to hold for others and a gentler approach to life.

Here’s one of my fave artists.

4. Write without filtering:

If you don’t write about your feelings, do you even journal?! I’m an avid journal junkie and love nothing more than selecting a beautiful book to put pen to paper. Allow what’s inside your mind to spill out onto the page. The key is to not sensor yourself. No one is going to read this, it’s not up for a Pulitzer Prize. Give yourself a time limit, like 5 minutes or a page limit of 2 pages and just write. At first it might be lines of “This is dumb, I don’t have anything to write..”. Go easy on yourself. It might take a few sentences to loosen up.

You might find it helpful to start with a prompt:

“A challenge I’ve been facing lately is…”

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if…”

“If I wasn’t so scared or worried I would…”

Check out The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron for her work on writing 'morning pages'.

5. Check in with yourself after a task at work:

Too often we rush from one thing to another, without taking note of the ‘in between time’. This time is gold! Before you launch into another project on your to-do list, check in with yourself – How do you feel after doing that last task? Do you feel energised or drained? Make a note of it next to the task on your list. If it’s a task that left you feeling energising – great! Do more of these. If you’re feeling drained, but is necessary to your work, take note to sandwich that task in between your energising tasks tomorrow.

For more on managing your energy in the workplace, check out Designing Your Life, by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.

Being mindful is just about observing what’s happening for you, right now.

There’s no need to change that moment, or to judge it as better or wrong.

The more awareness you bring to your day, the more you can align with the things that make you feel better.

Now, I'm curious – which one will you try?

Let me know below.


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