Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can be used to help us live peacefully and experience the joy that exists right now in this moment. Additionally, mindfulness is a free practice that we can start immediately. The following exercises are quick, easy, and simple ways to help us reconnect with the present.

1. Mindful Breathing: This is one of my favorite things to do. Whenever I realize that my thoughts are running the show, I use my breath as an anchor to bring me back to the moment. Our breath is our connection to life in the present. To breathe mindfully, simply shift your attention to your breath. Notice the depth of your breath and its intensity. Bring your awareness to the interplay between the inhale and exhale of your breath. Continue to simply observe your breath and its patterns without changing it or altering its natural rhythm.

2. Mindful Eating: A lot of over-eating occurs because we are simply not paying attention to how much we are consuming during our meals. Mindful eating is an excellent way to bring yourself into the present moment and to be more conscious of how much you’re eating. During your next meal, allow yourself to fully experience the range of sensations that occur when you’re eating. What does the food taste like, what is its texture, what sensations are present in your awareness as you eat? Are you chewing on one side of your mouth? What smells are coming up for you as you eat? Take note of the full range of experiences that come up as you eat your next meal.

3. Mindful Driving: Have you ever driven somewhere and realized that once you arrived at your location, you don’t remember the drive at all? This experience is very common! It’s likely that you were driving in a hypnotic state since it does not necessarily require your full attention. Mindful driving is another fun way to be engaged with the present moment. During your next drive, be mindful of the way it feels to hold the steering wheel, notice how you hold it, how the seat feels against your back, the way the pedals feel when you press them with your foot, the music you’re listening to, the cars in front of you, and the scenery around you. Do you notice any places or landmarks that you’ve never seen before? What sensations are coming up in your body? Do you feel at ease or do you sense some tension in your body? How do you express tension? During this exercise, it’s quite fun to take note of all that you never noticed.

By integrating these mindful practices into our daily lives, we allow ourselves to become more grounded in the present. Additionally, we begin to realize just how much we overlook each day, particularly as it pertains to our bodies and all of the functions it does for us independent of our awareness. When we pay close attention to the moment, it’s as if life slows down and allows us to look at it with fresh eyes. We notice that peace really is within each moment if we just allow ourselves to take the time to observe closely. We see that tasks that we previously labeled as mundane become exciting, interesting, and intriguing.

Author's Bio: 

Candace Thoth is an author, inner peace expert, board member of Femfessionals Honolulu, Hawaii State Coordinator of the Love Foundation, and founder of Return to Aloha. Candace uses insights from her life journey and her background in psychology and mindfulness to gently remind us that inner peace is always accessible regardless of our external circumstances.