How You Can Be Mindful Without Meditating

Mindfulness is a practice of focusing your attention on the present moment. In this article, we explain the many benefits practising mindfulness has on your mental and physical health and wellbeing, as well as ways to practice mindfulness WITHOUT sitting quietly and meditating!


Tamara Judge

3/31/20235 min read


Mindfulness is a practice of focusing your attention on the present moment. It's about becoming aware of what you're thinking, feeling, and doing right now—and accepting those thoughts and feelings without judgment. When we're mindful, we can more fully appreciate the present moment and our experiences in it; this helps us make better decisions because we're less influenced by negative emotions or cravings that might otherwise cloud our judgment. Mindfulness has been shown to have many benefits for mental health—it helps us deal with stress, manage anxiety and depression symptoms more effectively, regulate emotions such as anger or sadness more positively (instead of exploding), and even increase compassion toward others by changing our brain chemistry!

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully aware of your thoughts and actions in the present moment. It's a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the ‘now’, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Being mindful can help you manage stress more effectively, improve your health (including reducing pain), enhance relationships with others--and even make you happier! Mindfulness is something that anyone can practice every day without having to meditate or go on retreats.

Why is mindfulness important?

Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help you to become more aware of your thoughts, feelings and body. It also helps you to be more aware of the present moment--the here and now.

Mindfulness is often confused with meditation but it's actually something different altogether. Mindfulness is a state of being where we are fully alert and engaged in what we are doing without judgement or criticism; whereas meditation involves focusing on one thing (usually breathing) until our mind becomes calm and relaxed. The two practices aren't mutually exclusive though; some people use mindfulness as part of their meditation practice while others combine both methods into one session each day!

Why Should I Be Mindful?

This week, there has been a lot of press coverage about a recently published British study that found Mindfulness was better than Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for treating depression (1,2).  Participants spent eight weeks following the advice in The Mindful Way Workbook, which helps them build up their mindfulness skills. They also took part in six telephone support sessions with a therapist discussing their progress, experience of practising mindfulness and asking questions.

Researchers found that the participants combining mindfulness self-help with support experienced a 17.5% greater improvement in recovery from depressive symptoms than the people following CBT self-help while being supported by a mental health practitioner. The research is significant because not only is the mindfulness-based therapy more effective than CBT, it is also much cheaper!

There are many additional benefits to practising mindfulness regularly, including:

  • Reduced stress: Mindfulness helps you become aware of your thoughts and emotions in the moment, which can help you better manage stressors as they arise. It also allows you to disengage from rumination - thinking about the past and future that leads to anxiety or depression - by bringing your focus back to the present moment.

  • Better sleep quality: When we're stressed or anxious, it's harder for us to fall asleep at night; this can lead us into a vicious cycle where our lack of sleep makes us more stressed out during the day (and so on). Being mindful can help break this cycle by taking some time each day before bedtime for quiet reflection that helps reduce anxiety levels so they're not interfering with sleep quality during slumber time!

How can I be mindful without meditating?

Being mindful doesn't mean you have to meditate, but if you want to get started with mindfulness try these steps:

  • Be present in the moment: Use your senses to focus on the small details surrounding you. What can you see, hear, smell, or feel? Look for the little things others may miss.

  • Focus on your breathing: This is one of the easiest ways to practice being mindful without meditating--and it can help calm an anxious mind or lessen stress during stressful times. If we're not paying attention to what's happening now (or if we're caught up in thoughts about what happened yesterday), our bodies may begin reacting negatively because they aren't getting what they need from us!

  • Take a walk in nature: Sometimes all it takes is being outside with nature around us for our minds and bodies to relax.

Mindful activities to try

There are lots of ways you can be more mindful every day without having to sit in silence and breathe.

Here are some examples:

  • Mindful eating: Eating mindfully means paying attention to all of your senses while eating; take note of the taste of food on your tongue as well as its texture in your mouth (is it crunchy? soft?). Focus not only on what's going into your mouth but also what happens after each bite--does it make a noise when chewed? Does it have an interesting smell? What does it look like when viewed from above or below? You might find yourself noticing things about food that never occurred before! Try to eat slowly, savoring each bite and focusing on its taste and texture instead of rushing through your meal so that it's over before you know it. It may sound silly, but taking time out of each day just to appreciate food is a great way to practice mindfulness!

  • Walking mindfulness: This activity involves walking slowly back-and-forth across an open space while focusing intently on our footsteps and surrounding environment. By doing this exercise regularly over time we can learn how much easier life becomes when we're no longer distracted by meaningless thoughts like "I wonder if I left my keys at home?"

  • Mindful breathing: This is the most basic and fundamental mindfulness activity, and it can be done anytime, anywhere. Simply sit or lie down in a comfortable position and focus on your breath as it enters and leaves your body. Notice how each breath feels different from the last one--sometimes more shallow or slow, sometimes deeper or quicker--and try not to judge what's happening with your mind.

  • Bedtime wind-down: Taking a few minutes before bed each night is an effective way to practice being mindful in the evening--and getting enough sleep helps keep stress at bay too! Try lying down on the floor with a blanket or towel under your head (or use an actual pillow) so that when you close your eyes, there's no strain on them from being in an unnatural position for too long (like sitting upright). Then just breathe deeply until you feel relaxed enough that any worries about tomorrow have slipped away into oblivion...where they belong! You might also wish to do this in bed instead of lying on the floor.


Doing some of these things can help you be more mindful, even if you don't have time to meditate. You can also try some other activities that might work better for your lifestyle or preferences. The important thing is that whatever way you choose to practice mindfulness, it's important to make sure that it feels right for you!