As part of our Mindful Month, we’ve spoken to some of our favorite wellness gurus about how they incorporate mindfulness into their lives. This week, Alex Kate Knight, a model, blogger, nutritionist, and pilates instructor shares her methods to stay present, grateful, and grounded during her daily routine.
Here are Alex’s five tips to live that balanced, holistic lifestyle we strive to achieve.
1. Write Down Gratitude
This year, I’ve resolved to read one book a month. Instead of swiping through my phone, I’m going to be turning pages! I just finished Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness. The book contains frameworks for happiness that we can apply to our daily lives. For example, she describes how “physically articulating, in handwriting, things you are grateful for can increase your degree of gratefulness by 94%.”
I used to think of three things I was grateful for before going to bed, but that always made me too excited to embark on the next day. So now I start my day by writing down three things I’m grateful for. These can be simple. Last night, one of mine was “my hot water bottle!” This gratitude-writing process is grounding, and helps me appreciate the little moments of my life. If I miss a day, I just note it down on my phone. That act of moving gratitude from a thought to a physical presence really increases how happy I feel.
2. Work Out
When I workout, my attention is on my body and my breath. This is when I truly feel mindful of where I am in my body. I prioritize my workout above anything in my day, as I’m a happier person when I give myself this time. It doesn’t always have to be an intense workout, it can just be some stretching. Any form of exercise enables me to simply be in the moment. My grounded, balanced time in the studio sets me up for a grounded, balanced life outside of it.
3. Mindful Cooking
Cooking is a mindful part of my day that I always look forward to; I consider it a part of my end-of-day wind down. I’m obsessed with Hippocrates’ quote “Let food be thy medicine.” I find cooking so therapeutic. I don’t use recipes — I cook what my body needs and wants. Plus, there’s always a sense of accomplishment when I sit down to a home cooked meal.
4. Phone-Free Moments
I love engaging with people through my site and Instagram, but it’s super important for me to draw boundaries. I’ve decided to use my phone as predominantly a business tool. This means that from 9am to 5pm on weekdays I’m on it, but outside those hours, I only use it to talk to my family or play music. If you email me after 5pm you’ll get a response tomorrow, not today. On the weekend I ignore my phone as much as possible. I schedule my emails and social media so that I can switch off, be present, and actually enjoy my brunch! Life is happening in front of my eyes, not on my phone.
5. Do Something New
To experience a truly mindful state, engage in a new skill. This is why I started yoga. I needed something which required 100% of my attention, so my focus couldn’t wander off. I had to listen so closely to the teacher to know what to do — a headstand doesn’t come naturally! I encourage you to take up a new skill that feeds off your desire to explore, but also requires all your attention. Switching your mind off in this manner is actually energy-saving, and not taxing, as you replenish the brain cells with difference and freshness, not repetitive thoughts. This year I’ve taken up pottery. What will it be for you?