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Mindfulness matters: 4 ways to be more present in your life

You may be hearing the word "mindfulness" a lot lately and wondering what it means.
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

You may be hearing the word “mindfulness” a lot lately and wondering what it's about. Mindfulness simply means being grounded and present in your day-to-day. Instead of worrying about what’s going to happen or what’s already happened, you’re rooted in what’s actually happening.

Most people think cultivating a mindful life requires a lot of time, but it can actually be done fairly quickly. The following list includes some quick and easy ways to strengthen your mind-body connection. Check in with yourself and see which techniques resonate with you. Try those first and stick with them for at least 21 days. Journal about your experiences and see if you feel any shift in your energy or mood.

1. Focus on your morning routine

This helps you start your day with intention and a clear mind. It can include journaling, movement, reading or meditation. Most of us are rushing in the mornings, so taking a few moments to center yourself is key. Have fun with it and make it your own. It doesn't have to take long. When I'm rushed, I'll do two minutes of deep breathing, a quick gratitude/intentions list, and a couple of sun salutations. Ten minutes is all you need!

2. Practice gratitude

Gratitude lists are a super quick and effective way to ground us. They open our eyes to what’s working in our lives. When things are stressing you out or you feel really disconnected, take a moment and write down three things for which you're grateful. They don't have to be big, but get specific. Instead of “I’m grateful for my family”, try “I’m grateful for the lunch date I had with my sister.” You’ll sense an immediate shift in your energy.

3. Add 'me time'

Give yourself at least a couple of minutes each day that are just for you. Set aside some time to find joy. Make it special. Whether it's watching a YouTube video you love or taking a walk during a coffee break, the key here is the intention behind the action. This time is for you, so try not to multitask while doing it. Leave your phone behind!

4. Meditate

Many people are intimidated by meditation, but when you break it down, it’s really just about breath. Any activity or technique that centers or calms your breath is effectively meditation.

Try this:

Close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out through your nose. Make each inhalation and exhalation equal in length, pausing at the top and bottom of each breath. You don’t need to be sitting cross-legged, just in a relaxed position.

Even doing this once a day will help ground you. If meditation seems like something you’d like to explore further, there are tons of different apps you can download to get you started.

Shirin Eskandani is a New York-based life coach focused on helping people find purpose, passion and joy. Follow her on Instagram.