Becoming more mindful and incorporating regular practices such as yoga, meditation, or journaling into our lives is something many of us strive to do. However, it is not easy, especially if you are new to these wellness rituals. One of the main reasons many people struggle to establish mindfulness practice is because they feel like they don’t have enough time, or they forget to return to their practice once life gets chaotic.
However, by being intentional and creating a routine, you can overcome these barriers and establish a daily mindfulness practice that will bring peace and calm to your life. By establishing a strong daily routine in which to fit in your practice, you may find that you naturally find practising yoga or meditating daily comes more naturally. They may even become a necessity!
The relationship between routines and mindfulness
A study conducted on the use of digital mindfulness resources like meditation apps such as Headspace and yoga courses, found that people were more likely to use these apps if they had a good daily routine.
The study showed that participants who didn’t use the apps as much as they wanted had struggled to fit the mindfulness app into their busy lifestyles, with psychological effects such as feeling overwhelmed playing a role in limiting usage. Participants believed that they could only use the app regularly if they had a routine, and that starting a routine would help them gain some momentum. Further, those participants who were able to use their apps everyday attributed it not to being strong-willed or determined, but to their daily routines.
Interestingly, the study also found that the users who were disappointed by their low usage of these apps had started using them believing that they would offer a quick fix for mental health issues like anxiety and stress. The study found that, in general, the more organised you are in your daily life, the more effective your wellness practices will be. If the app was used for a number of days in a row, the self-efficacy of the user increases, as the evidence convinces them that they can set aside the time to use the app.
Finally, the study showed that people actually wanted to establish a routine in order to be more effective! Fitting mindfulness practice into a busy schedule is a skill that can be learned. Let's discuss how.
How to establish a mindfulness-oriented routine
To start, become more conscious of your choices. Don't let life happen to you; instead, take an active role in your life by making decisions that support your wellness goals. Analyse an average day and find lulls or gaps in which you can fit in your mindfulness practice. For example, you may find that you have a few free minutes before or after lunch, or you may have a quiet time in the evening before bed. These moments can be ideal for practicing yoga, meditation, or journaling.
Another tip for making mindfulness practices a regular part of your routine is to set reminders. Use your phone calendar or alarm to remind you of your mindfulness practices. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you don't forget to practice. In the study we talked about earlier, many users who wanted to establish regular routines reported that they would have been more active if they had scheduling, reminder or nudge facility built into the app.
The study we talked about earlier also found that incorporating ‘persuasive techniques’ such as social media integration where goals, successes and failures are shared with other users. Think about finding friends or family to sync your results with, and maybe set up some goals or even a competition if you’re the type to get competitive, even over relaxing!
Finally, set a hard "stop" to your day so that you can start to wind down. Whether it's turning off your phone, lighting candles, or doing a yoga sequence, find something that signals the end of your day and helps you transition into a more mindful state. By establishing a routine and these habits, you'll find that it becomes easier to incorporate mindfulness practices into your life, and you'll start to experience the many benefits of these wellness rituals.