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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

20 Simple Things You Can Do Daily To Become a Mindful Person

20 Simple Things You Can Do Daily To Become a Mindful Person

The world we are living in today has taken away our ability to truly appreciate the little things that we should be thankful for. Mindfulness helps us see the little things that we have unconsciously neglected due to the hectic daily routines and busy schedule in our lives. Being mindful not only helps us become a calmer individual, but also saves us from a lot of trouble. It helps us be more productive without making the unnecessary errors. Often, we make bad decisions or mistakes because we weren’t mindful enough to notice the subtle things that are happening around us. However, if we practice mindfulness, we will gradually become more aware of the things that are happening around us. We also better understand our own emotions and our physical state, which lead us to a healthier and happier life.

Here are 20 simple things you can do every day to become a more mindful person:

1. Observe your breathing.

Take a few second of your day to observe your breathing. Take a longer inhale than you usually do, and then take a longer exhale than you usually do. We often act based on our emotions, where it gets us into unwanted outcome. This practice will help you to calm yourself down during those situations, while observing your physical and emotional state.

2. Look at yourself in the mirror.

Looking yourself in the mirror helps you observe your own facial expression. You can see how you look when you smile or when you frown, even when you are feeling angry. This will help you better adjust to your reaction towards others when you are dealing with them.

3. Savor every bite while you eat.

Focus on chewing while eating. Put your devices aside, and turn off the television. Enjoy every bite of your meal. This will not only help with your digestive system, but also help you practice focusing on your current action and appreciating the food you are eating.

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4. Listen to soothing music.

Turn on relaxing and soothing melody and really listen to it. Lay down or sit in the most comfortable position, close your eyes and feel the music in your soul. Soothing melody will help you clear your mind and thoughts after a busy or stressful day.

5. Read a book.

Reading takes a lot of your focus. Reading not only gives you useful knowledge, but also helps you form a focused meditation. While you are going through every word, you are practicing mindfulness at the same time.

6. Go for a walk.

Our legs are our unsung heroes that take us to and fro, day in and day out, throughout our lives. Going for a walk gives you the opportunity to show gratitude to your legs as well as your entire body, while appreciating the things around you. You also get a clearer mind after a good long walk.

7. Organize something at work or home.

Having your home or workplace in disarray can cause anxiety and stress. Getting organized is a simple way to reduce your stress and improve the quality of your life. While you are picking up bits and pieces of objects during the process, you are also practicing mindfulness when you consciously observe each placement of the object while organizing them.

8. Write a journal.

Research shows that people who practice writing in a journal reap physical and emotional benefits. They also raise their potential to increase their longevity. Sharing your thoughts in your journal helps you reduce the amount of worry and depressive symptoms. You clarify your thoughts and emotions when you express them in writing, and that helps you better understand yourself at a deeper level.

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9. Cook yourself a meal.

The aromatic scents of cooking have beneficial effects to your mood. The process of cooking, like chopping vegetables; for example, can actually take the edge off a stressful day. Cooking gives you a sense of calmness while also providing an important health measure.

10. Set small daily goals.

Breaking down your goals into smaller ones helps you be more specific to what you aim to achieve on a daily basis. It can be as simple as taking your dog for a walk or cleaning up your house. Take the time to acknowledge yourself for each goal that has been accomplished, and for doing something meaningful for yourself.

11. Observe the people around you.

Taking the time to observe the people around you helps you notice things that seemed oblivious before. You get an idea of the variety of perspectives, raising your awareness by releasing the norms and values from different people. This also gives you an eye-opening experience, helping you better learn the quality of mindfulness.

12. Help someone.

Research suggests that human beings who live for others lead incredibly successful lives, and show lower rates of depression and stress. A simple gesture like helping your family with chores or helping an elderly cross the road can do wonders. By doing someone a small favor, you increase positive feelings toward yourself while making their life a little better. This gives you a mindful awareness of a purposeful life.

13. Let loose and laugh.

Laughing releases endorphins and brings more oxygen and energy into your body while also improving your immune system. Some of us may need the assistance of entertainment to laugh, but really you can find humor in every little thing in life. Just try laughing for the sake of laughing and you will realize that you are actually very present during the process. Being present is the key to mindfulness.

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14. Create art.

Engaging in creative work helps you get into a flow state of heightened awareness and consciousness. Creative activities like baking, doodling, or singing help you quiet down your mind and help you focus on the moment, thus improving your practice of mindfulness.

15. Turn off your devices.

Every once in a while, turn off your devices and engage with the natural world around you. Have a proper conversation with the people around you. This helps you put yourself under the right condition while you freshen up before proceeding with the endless task on your to-do list. You will find yourself much more productive after the simple break and refreshing yourself with this tip.

16. Meditate.

Enjoy the silence after the endless distraction from the people and things around you. Take the time to put down all the things that you are working on, sit down in a comfortable position, and observe your entire body. Focus on feeling each part of your body functioning while clearing away the stress that you obtain throughout the day.

17. Exercise.

When you exercise, you focus your attention on your sensations, breathing, and the movements of your body. This helps you let go of distractions and your endless thoughts while developing a healthy loving relationship with your body. You learn to listen to the needs of your body and to focus on current events.

18. Write sticky notes.

Jotting down your thoughts in a few words is an incredible way to train mindfulness. Simply write down things that you want to remind yourself to remember and stick them around your house or your desk at work. You can jot down “smile” or “be mindful” to remind yourself to do the simple gesture you normally get distracted from.

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19. Take a long bath.

A soothing hot bath relaxes your tired muscles and provides you with a relaxing atmosphere, allowing you the temporary feeling of escape from your daily activities. It helps your breathing become slower and deeper, allowing you to stay in the present moment.

20. Give a genuine compliment.

Give someone you know a genuine compliment at lease once a day, and be specific with it. For example, you could tell them something like, “I appreciate the way you smiled generously at that stranger earlier today”. This practice of noticing what people around you do well and giving genuine compliments adds new warmth, intimacy, and responsiveness to your relationship with them. It helps you realize the beauty of the people you love. You show  them appreciation when you take the time to truly observe them mindfully.

Featured photo credit: Aperture Vintage via unsplash.com

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Crystie Lim

Life Coach

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Published on June 22, 2021

Can Coffee Cause Anxiety Or Depression?

Can Coffee Cause Anxiety Or Depression?

Waking up groggy, eyes adjusting to the light, everything is a little blurry, you stumble into the kitchen and get your first cup of joe brewin’. The smell hits you first—a nice dark roast perhaps, and then finally, your first sip, ahhhhh . . . You begin the rest of your morning routine and that beautiful, aroma-filled beverage in your cup kick-starts your day.

But have you ever wondered if your morning coffee ritual is actually contributing to anxiety or depression? If so, I got some answers for you in this article

We’ve become a coffee-crazed culture—drinking it for pleasure, to relax, as a treat, drinking it to socialize, and not least of all, for energy. Suffice to say, all that coffee craze can lead to an unhealthy dependency. How else can we keep our energy up, treating ourselves along the way, to accomplish all the things we need and want to get done in life?

So, here’s the lowdown on coffee, anxiety, and depression.

Coffee and Depression

There’s some very interesting research out there about coffee and depression. It turns out that coffee might actually be a protective factor against depression and is even correlated with a reduction in suicide.[1] That’s a pretty amazing finding for coffee lovers and those who deal with depression or suicidality!

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In fact, studies have talked about this very interesting outcome. However, before we get too excited, let’s hit the pause button and clarify a few things. I do say “might” because research is research, and although this gives us some evidence, it’s always important to remember that each of our bodies reacts differently to different environments, circumstances, or substances, and there are a lot of variables at play, so nothing is 100%—but it is a good indicator for sure!

Some of the variables to consider in these studies include the overall lifestyle of subjects and control groups as well as a super important one—whether the coffee they were drinking is caffeinated or decaffeinated as much of the research isn’t clear. So, there’s some more work to be done there, but that’s encouraging!

And that’s not all. Coffee, which is most often connected to unhealthy habits, was taken off the WHO’s list of carcinogenic foods in 2016, a somewhat rare move. The WHO even reports that coffee may protect against cancer of the uterus and liver. And they are not alone, several other, well-known and esteemed organizations, such as The World Cancer Research Fund and the US Department of Health and Human Services, have also declared that coffee consumption in moderation (three to five cups per day) can have positive effects on your health and protect you from various forms of cancer.[2][3]

When it comes to depression, it was found that it may not be only the caffeine at play, as there are other impactful components in coffee. The more notable are chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid, all of which have been found to reduce inflammation of nerves which is found to be a factor in the brains of people suffering from depression. More good stuff!

Coffee and Anxiety

The research on coffee and anxiety, however, is not quite as positive for those who suffer from anxiety as it is for those who suffer from depression. And it’s not all that surprising either, but there was something that I did find interesting in all of the reading I did on this subject.

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By and large, it was found that if you don’t suffer from anxiety, coffee will likely not have too much of a negative impact on you when consumed in moderation. However, when caffeine doses increase to more than 400mg per day, symptoms associated with anxiety may appear, such as restlessness, jitteriness, and trouble sleeping. In those who suffer from anxiety, it will take far less to exacerbate their already present symptoms of anxiety—not too surprising.[4]

But anecdotally, there is a lot of documentation about people quitting coffee for a period of time and writing about the impact on their anxiety, which was found to be fairly negligent. So, overall, if you suffer from anxiety, there is a good chance that moderate coffee consumption will not have too much of an impact on your anxiety, though it certainly won’t help it.

How Does Coffee Affect Your Mood?

When it comes to your overall mood, the thing you should think about is how your body responds to caffeine as this is the primary issue for most people—depression or anxiety aside—and our bodies have different sensitivities to caffeine.

Some people can drink espresso right before bed and have no trouble sleeping but for others, it could guarantee a night of restlessness with lots of tossing and turning! And poor sleep contributes to irritability, less resistance to dealing with life stressors as well as other poor health indicators, and hence, lowered mood.

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential especially when dealing with chronic anxiety. So, if you fall into this camp, then it might be good for you to moderate your coffee consumption or even just evaluate and assess for yourself to see what the impact might be on a period of time with no caffeine.

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It’s important that you get to know your body and how it reacts to different substances and environments. Running a little experiment on yourself can be a fun way to get to know and understand your body and how you metabolize caffeine.

The Bottom Line on Coffee, Anxiety, and Depression

Overall, the research says that there are potentially a few health benefits when it comes to depression and coffee drinking than on coffee and anxiety—where it is found to have a negative or neutral impact. Furthermore, there is an array of other potentially beneficial health impacts from drinking coffee.[5]

Given all of this various research—some of it very promising (around depression) and some of it not surprising (anxiety)—coffee is not going to eradicate any mental health concerns, though it does not necessarily seem to cause them. The most important thing to consider when thinking about the impact of coffee drinking on your anxiety or depression is that it can aggravate sleep issues, which is a really important piece of your self-care when dealing with depression, anxiety, or any mental health issue for that matter.[6]

Wanna Cut Back on Your Coffee Drinking?

If you are looking to cut back a little on how much coffee you drink or even just run that little experiment on yourself that I was referring to, then you can start with a few simple tips.

1. Cut Back Gradually

Caffeine is a stimulant, and you will likely feel some physiological symptoms, such as a headache, brain fog, and general fatigue. This will last for a day or two, possibly more depending on how much caffeine you have been consuming. Before you start cutting back, it is good to know about how much caffeine you are drinking in a day. That way you can gradually cut back by a beverage each day or so.

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2. Make Sure You Stay Hydrated

Coffee—or caffeine for that matter—is a diuretic, which means that it will naturally dehydrate you, so cutting down will most likely help with dehydration. However, with that said, it is still important to make sure you are drinking enough fluids as that will help minimize the effects of the withdrawal.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

You will naturally feel a little tired when cutting back on caffeine/coffee, make sure you get enough rest, giving your body a chance to adjust and recuperate from the withdrawal.

4. Increase Your Physical Activity

Try to increase your physical activity a little. Physical activity is known to increase mood, which will counter the irritability you may feel when cutting back on your coffee intake.

5. Take Notes

Keep a little log or journal to write down how you are feeling on different days and how much, if any, caffeine you are drinking at various points in your “trial.” Think about your mood, how you feel, how you are sleeping, and possibly how you feel it is impacting your relationships and your daily activities. When you go back to look at your data, you will be able to assess the impact of caffeine and coffee intake more accurately.

Keep in Mind

How much coffee we drink and its impacts vary widely depending on many, many factors. The best bet for you is to know yourself, pay attention to how coffee impacts you, talk to your doctors, and consider your personal life circumstances. Taking all of these steps will help you to make an informed decision for yourself, which will likely change over time.

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Featured photo credit: Drew Coffman via unsplash.com

Reference

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