1. Choose a short mindfulness practice you can use every day or several times a day. For instance, notice the sensation of your breath at your nostrils for the length of three in-breaths and three out-breaths. Even in this short space of time, your attention will drift; bring it back to your breath calmly and without self-criticism.
2. Try a little acceptance at the start of the day. Mindfulness has two major aspects: returning your attention from mind-wandering to the present moment; and practising acceptance. Briefly look over what you are going to have to do today and accept it. This could include an annoying task or an unpleasant meeting or any of the other challenges in our day. Just accept it. Try to do this at a set time, for instance before you get out of bed in the morning, having breakfast, waiting for a train or tram and so on.
3. Make a “no problem solving” period part of every day. We have an addiction to mulling over problems and this exiles us from the present moment. Set a short period every day during which you promise not to solve a single problem in your life! During that time you will find it much easier to be present and mindful. Good times for this? During meals, when commuting or tidying for instance.
4. Find your anchor point. The “anchor point” is a practice or sensation that anchors you to mindfulness and helps you come back when you find yourself wandering off in your mind. Examples are: the sensation of your breath against your nostrils; the feeling of your feet against the floor, ground, or against the soles of your shoes; or the use of a silent word such as “returning.”
5. Do a body scan when you wake up at night. When you wake up at night it’s all too easy to drift into worries or regrets. Instead, bring your attention to your body from your toes to the top of your head, in stages (for instance toes, feet, calves etc). Rest your attention on each area for the length of three in-breaths and out-breaths. When you find your mind has drifted, come back to wherever you had reached. Doing this mindfulness practice is far more restful than worrying about being awake – and it might even send you back to sleep!
6. Eat with awareness Be aware that you are eating while you are eating. Pay attention to taste and texture and to the sensation of fullness. If you don’t already eat mindfully you will be surprised at how much of our eating is “mindless”. One way to practise mindful eating is to choose to be aware of your food for the first minute of every meal. This will then expand into a more general mindful eating practice.