“Mindfulness” is more than a trendy buzzword. It’s a state of awareness that focuses on your present thoughts and surroundings. And while the concept has turned into a hot topic only recently, mindfulness has been a Buddhist practice for almost 3,000 years.
These days, we need mindfulness more than ever! We’re constantly connected to the world. For many of us, technology is the center of work and entertainment.1 To get into a better habit, start by focussing on your home. This is, after all, the space where you fall asleep and wake up. Your home is where you return to after a long day at work. Why make it stressful? With these tips, your home will be a place where mindfulness thrives.
Why Is Mindfulness Important?
The perks of being mindful range far and wide. Studies have found that it improves working memory, cognition, and focus.2 3 Anxiety and stress will also take a nosedive, helping you get through those rough patches.4
Physically, mindfulness enhances immune function.5 Trying to lose weight? Being mindful limits appetite and impulsive food choices, making it easier to eat well.6 You’ll even find it easier to quit smoking with this practice.7
How To Make Your Home More Mindful
Electronics can really fog up your home and mind. As it is, your days are probably flooded with notifications, messages, and newsfeeds. So, it’s just digital clutter getting in the way of the present moment. And then there’s blue light released by electronics and absorbed by our eyes. This disrupts the internal body clock, making it hard to fall asleep.8
Find moments to disconnect, for example, just when you wake up or before you fall asleep. Experts recommend turning off electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime.9 Have a friend over for lunch? Turn off notifications and just enjoy the company.
2. Hang Up Fewer Mirrors
Mirrors might make a room look bigger, but it’ll only harm mindfulness. In fact, research has found that mirror gazing increases stress and anxiety, even in mentally healthy patients. It can increase self-awareness but not of the good kind. Mirrors make awareness turn into self-criticism.10 And when you’re trying to be more mindful, this will work against you.
Limit the number of mirrors at home. For many people, ideally, one is more than enough.
3. Decorate With Houseplants
Mother Nature is the best tool for self-reflection. Now, if only we had the ocean or mountains at our fingertips! The next best thing? Bring the outdoors in by growing houseplants. It’ll encourage a connection with nature and, most importantly, your surroundings.
Gardening can even relieve stress, according to a study in the Journal of Health Psychology.11 You don’t need a full-blown farm. Even a modest windowsill garden will do you much good.
4. Practice Minimalism
Minimalism and mindfulness go hand in hand. The less you have, the more you can develop peace of mind. This doesn’t mean you toss out everything you own. Instead, minimalism is about owning what brings you value. Everything else – the useless clutter – goes out the door.
Minimalism is different for everyone. The common thread, however, is that happiness isn’t dependent on things. “Trim the fat” and focus on what’s most important.
5. Clean Regularly
De-cluttering won’t matter if your home is dirty. Dust and grime, after all, can be a huge distraction. A mindful home prioritizes cleanliness. This means doing the dishes, making the bed, and vacuuming, which will help you feel your best. It’s the best way to improve hygiene and control allergens like dust mites.12 Your home doesn’t have to look like a museum! But in order to make room for mindfulness, cleaning is key.
To actively practice mindfulness, meditate every day. Even 1 or 2 minutes of this peace and quiet will make a huge difference.
|↑1||What are the benefits of mindfulness?. American Psychological Association.|
|↑2||Jha, Amishi P., Elizabeth A. Stanley, Anastasia Kiyonaga, Ling Wong, and Lois Gelfand. “Examining the protective effects of mindfulness training on working memory capacity and affective experience.” Emotion 10, no. 1 (2010): 54.|
|↑3||Moore, Adam, and Peter Malinowski. “Meditation, mindfulness and cognitive flexibility.” Consciousness and cognition 18, no. 1 (2009): 176-186.|
|↑4||Hofmann, Stefan G., Alice T. Sawyer, Ashley A. Witt, and Diana Oh. “The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review.” Journal of consulting and clinical psychology 78, no. 2 (2010): 169.|
|↑5||Davidson, Richard J., Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jessica Schumacher, Melissa Rosenkranz, Daniel Muller, Saki F. Santorelli, Ferris Urbanowski, Anne Harrington, Katherine Bonus, and John F. Sheridan. “Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation.” Psychosomatic medicine 65, no. 4 (2003): 564-570.|
|↑6||Hendrickson, Kelsie L., and Erin B. Rasmussen. “Mindful eating reduces impulsive food choice in adolescents and adults.” Health Psychology 36, no. 3 (2017): 226.|
|↑7||Practice Mindfulness. SmokeFree.gov, National Cancer Institute.|
|↑8||Hatori, Megumi, Claude Gronfier, Russell N. Van Gelder, Paul S. Bernstein, Josep Carreras, Satchidananda Panda, Frederick Marks et al. “Global rise of potential health hazards caused by blue light-induced circadian disruption in modern aging societies.” npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease 3 (2017).|
|↑9||Sleep Hygiene. Indiana University Health.|
|↑10||Veale, David, and Susan Riley. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the ugliest of them all? The psychopathology of mirror gazing in body dysmorphic disorder.” Behaviour research and therapy 39, no. 12 (2001): 1381-1393.|
|↑11||Van Den Berg, Agnes E., and Mariëtte HG Custers. “Gardening promotes neuroendocrine and affective restoration from stress.” Journal of Health Psychology 16, no. 1 (2011): 3-11.|
|↑12||Dust Mites. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.|