Are you tired of hearing the word “mindfulness?”  We’re told to “practice” it. But what does it even mean? 

To be mindful, really just means being present without judgment. Being mindful means being aware of you, your thoughts, your feelings and sensations, without judging them. That’s pretty much it. 

So now that we know what mindfulness is. Here are a few ways to dip your toes into the sea of tranquility and try it out. 

If you’re hoping to become more mindful during the day, try it out by being present during some of these moments: 

Wake up thinking about how you feel and how you want to feel  

Instead of waking up after hitting snooze for a half-hour and starting your day in a rush, try being intentional and present. How does your body feel? How do you feel? Are you alert? Are you tired? Try noticing and acknowledging your sensations. What is your first thought as you wake up? Just noticing and being present as a non-judgmental observer is the start of being more mindful.  

Be mindful while getting ready for the day 

Instead of jumping in the shower and thinking about the past or future conversations that haven’t happened yet, try noticing and paying attention to the temperature of the water, the sensation of massaging shampoo into your hair and the great feeling of taking time for yourself. 

Bring mindfulness into your chores  

A lot of chores that seem “mindless,” can actually be a way to practice mindfulness. Many students say that the repetition of chores allows them to bring peace and calm to the day. Even though we don’t always want to take the time to do our household chores, if we can use it as a time to distance ourselves from our thoughts and be present, then we can feel better and accomplished! Next time you find the dishes piling in the sink, turn the water on, and notice the temperature of the water, the pressure, the scraps going into the sink and how you’re placing them in the dishwasher or on the drying rack. If you want, you can practice gratitude by being thankful for food to eat and dishes to wash. 

This process doesn’t need to be rushed, use your chores as a time to be mindful and as a moving meditation.  

While you’re waiting in line, avoid scrolling on your phone or texting  

Next time you’re in line for coffee or food, try keeping your phone in your pocket or bag. Take this time to pay attention to your breath. When we feel impatient, our breath can quicken and we can start spiraling to negative thoughts. Transitioning these moments of frustration to calm, can alter our entire day and life.  

If this feels like a lot, try keeping mindful practices short to start  

If you’re new to practicing mindfulness into your daily routine, that’s okay. It can feel like a lot to just take a moment to pause instead of being on autopilot or scrolling on our phones. If you can try to be mindful a few minutes a day, that’s great! Any small mindful act, such as paying attention to our breathing a few times a day is a great way to start incorporating mindfulness in our daily routines.  

Wellness USF offers a wide range of services to help you practice mindfulness. TAO is a mental health app free for all USF students, which has mindfulness exercises, meditations and journaling prompts. Practice mindfulness from the comfort of your phone. Next time you’re waiting for someone or something, open up the app and try a breathing exercise. Small steps can make big changes.  

The USF Counseling Center also has a Mindfulness Meditation drop-in group where you can work on mindful breathing, grounding techniques and progressive muscle relaxation.