Overwhelmed By Negative Thoughts? Here Are 18 Ways To Practice Mindfulness Daily


While meditation can never take away the role of professional help and support, it’s a much-needed supplement to combating negative thoughts that constantly overwhelm us. Even mental health experts agree: An article in Psychology Today notes, “Meditation, particularly mindful meditation, teaches those who practice it to focus on the present moment, breath by breath. Suzanne Westbrook, a retired internal medicine doctor at Harvard, describes it as a means of ‘noticing what happens moment to moment, the easy and the difficult, and the painful and the joyful. It’s about building a muscle to be present and awake in your life.'”

Regardless of where you are in your mental health journey, no matter your personal beliefs or spirituality of choice — meditation, and mindfulness can play a big part in your recovery and healing. Here are 18 simple and actionable ways you can get started:

Start Your Day with Intention

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Begin each morning with a deliberate focus on setting the tone for your day. Take a few moments before getting out of bed to center yourself and reflect on what you’re grateful for. This can be as simple as expressing thanks for the opportunity to experience another day or appreciating the comfort of your bed.

Visualize how you want your day to unfold, envisioning positive outcomes and interactions. By starting your day with intention and gratitude, you create a powerful mindset that can carry you through any challenges that arise.

Create a Gratitude Journal

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Keeping a gratitude journal is a powerful way to cultivate a habit of gratitude in your daily life. Dedicate a few minutes each day to writing down three things you’re grateful for. These can range from significant events or achievements to small moments of joy or acts of kindness you’ve experienced. As you jot down your blessings, take time to reflect on why each item is meaningful to you.

Over time, your gratitude journal will become a treasure trove of positive memories and reflections that you can turn to during difficult times.

Practice Mindful Breathing


Mindful breathing is a foundational practice in mindfulness that can help you anchor yourself in the present moment. Find a comfortable position and close your eyes, focusing your attention on your breath. Notice the sensation of the air entering and leaving your nostrils or the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen.

As thoughts or distractions arise, gently guide your focus back to your breath without judgment. Incorporating mindful breathing exercises into your daily routine can help reduce stress, increase mental clarity, and promote a sense of calm and well-being.

Savor Everyday Moments

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Life is filled with small moments of joy and beauty that often go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Make it a habit to slow down and savor these simple pleasures whenever possible.

Whether it’s enjoying your morning cup of coffee, basking in the warmth of the sun on your skin, or sharing a laugh with a friend, take time to fully immerse yourself in the experience. By cultivating mindfulness and presence in these moments, you can deepen your appreciation for the richness of life’s tapestry.

Practice Gratitude in Challenging Times


During difficult moments, it can be especially challenging to maintain a mindset of gratitude. However, these are often the times when practicing gratitude is most beneficial. Challenge yourself to find silver linings and reasons to be grateful, even in the midst of adversity.

This might involve acknowledging the lessons learned from difficult experiences or expressing gratitude for the support and resilience you’ve discovered within yourself. By reframing your perspective and focusing on gratitude, you can cultivate resilience and find strength in the face of challenges.

Engage Your Senses

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Our senses are powerful gateways to experiencing the world around us more fully. Take time each day to engage your senses mindfully, noticing the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of your environment. Whether you’re taking a walk in nature, preparing a meal, or enjoying a piece of music, pay attention to the sensory details.

By tuning into your senses, you can cultivate a deeper appreciation for the richness and beauty of life’s experiences.

Practice Loving-Kindness Meditation

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Loving-kindness meditation, also known as metta meditation, is a practice that involves cultivating feelings of love, compassion, and goodwill towards oneself and others. Begin by sitting in a comfortable position and bringing to mind someone you care about deeply. Repeat phrases such as “May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe, may you live with ease” silently to yourself, directing these well wishes towards the person.

As you become more comfortable with the practice, you can gradually extend these feelings of loving-kindness to yourself, loved ones, acquaintances, and even difficult individuals. By cultivating feelings of compassion and goodwill, you can foster a greater sense of interconnectedness and gratitude in your life.

Express Appreciation to Others


One of the most powerful ways to cultivate gratitude is by expressing appreciation to the people in your life. Take opportunities to acknowledge and thank others for their kindness, support, and contributions. This can be as simple as sending a heartfelt thank-you note, offering a compliment, or performing a random act of kindness.

By expressing gratitude to others, you not only strengthen your relationships but also deepen your own sense of gratitude and appreciation for the positive influences in your life.

Set Reminders Throughout the Day


In the midst of our busy lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and forget to pause and cultivate mindfulness and gratitude. Set gentle reminders throughout your day to prompt you to take a moment to breathe, reflect, and appreciate the present moment. This might involve setting alarms on your phone, placing sticky notes in visible locations, or using objects as symbols to remind you to be mindful.

By incorporating these reminders into your daily routine, you can cultivate a greater sense of presence and gratitude in your life.

Practice Non-Judgmental Awareness


Non-judgmental awareness is a core principle of mindfulness that involves observing your thoughts, emotions, and experiences without attaching labels or judgment. Instead of reacting to your inner experiences with criticism or self-criticism, practice observing them with curiosity and compassion. Notice when judgments arise and gently redirect your focus back to the present moment without getting caught up in the storyline of your thoughts.

By cultivating non-judgmental awareness, you can develop a greater sense of self-acceptance and gratitude for the richness and complexity of your inner world.

Connect with Nature


Spending time in nature is a powerful way to cultivate gratitude and deepen your connection to the world around you. Whether you’re hiking in the mountains, walking along the beach, or simply sitting in a park, take time to notice the beauty and wonder of the natural world. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of your surroundings, allowing yourself to be fully present in the moment.

By immersing yourself in nature, you can experience a sense of awe and appreciation for the abundance and diversity of life on Earth.

Practice Gratitude Before Bed

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End your day on a positive note by reflecting on three things you’re grateful for before bedtime. This practice can help shift your focus away from any stressors or worries and promote a sense of peace and contentment.

Take a few moments to review the events of your day and identify moments of joy, kindness, or beauty. By ending your day with gratitude, you invite a sense of calm and gratitude into your subconscious mind as you prepare for restful sleep.

Cultivate Mindful Eating


Mindful eating is a practice that involves paying attention to the sensory experience of eating and being fully present with your food. Before you begin eating, take a moment to express gratitude for the nourishment it provides and the efforts of those involved in preparing the meal. Slow down and savor each bite, noticing the flavors, textures, and sensations of the food. Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, eating with intention and awareness.

By cultivating mindful eating habits, you can deepen your appreciation for the abundance of food available to you and foster a healthier relationship with eating. And our bodies are incredible: When we start eating well and nutritiously, our systems work to repair themselves.

Practice Gratitude in Action


Gratitude is not just a feeling to be experienced; it’s also a call to action. Look for opportunities to express your gratitude through kind words, thoughtful gestures, or acts of service. Whether it’s volunteering your time, donating to a charitable cause, or simply offering a helping hand to someone in need, find ways to make a positive impact in your community.

By practicing gratitude in action, you not only spread positivity and kindness to others but also deepen your own sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Embrace Imperfection

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Life is inherently messy and unpredictable, and striving for perfection can lead to unnecessary stress and dissatisfaction. Instead of seeking perfection, embrace the beauty of imperfection and recognize that it’s often through our flaws and mistakes that we grow and learn the most. Practice self-compassion and acceptance, acknowledging that it’s okay to be imperfect and that your worth is not defined by external standards.

By embracing imperfection, you can cultivate a greater sense of gratitude for the richness and complexity of the human experience.

Create a Gratitude Ritual

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Establishing a gratitude ritual can help you incorporate gratitude into your daily life in a meaningful way. This could be a simple practice like lighting a candle, saying a prayer, or practicing yoga with a focus on gratitude. Choose a ritual that resonates with you personally and make it a habit to engage in it regularly.

By incorporating a gratitude ritual into your routine, you can create a sense of structure and meaning that deepens your connection to gratitude and enhances your overall well-being.

Practice Mindful Listening


Mindful listening is a powerful way to deepen your connections with others and cultivate empathy and understanding. When engaged in conversation, make a conscious effort to truly listen to what the other person is saying without judgment or distraction. Pay attention to their words, tone, and body language, tuning in to both the content and the emotions behind their message.

Practice reflecting back on what you’ve heard to ensure you’ve understood correctly and validate the other person’s experience. By practicing mindful listening, you not only strengthen your relationships but also cultivate gratitude for the richness and diversity of human connection.

Reflect on Your Blessings


Regularly take time to reflect on the blessings in your life, both big and small. Consider the people, experiences, and opportunities that have enriched your journey and shaped who you are today. Express gratitude for the abundance that surrounds you, from the love of family and friends to the simple pleasures of everyday life.

By cultivating a habit of reflection and gratitude, you can deepen your appreciation for the richness of your life journey and foster a sense of contentment and fulfillment.