I’ve been meditating for almost a decade now. Initially, I thought I’d do it for a few months and I’d have learned everything I needed. But that’s not the way it works. Just as you need to keep exercising to strengthen your muscles, you need consistent practice to train yourself to be more mindful and focus on the present moment.
Over the years, I’ve tried things like yoga (sometimes called moving meditation) and mindful walks in the park. They’ve all been great, but it was these affordable Mindfulness Cards that made the biggest difference. Each card has a different mindfulness exercise designed to get you to focus on the here and now throughout the day.
There are 50 cards in the pack, arranged into color-coded themes, like Kindness, Rest & Balance, and Curiosity & Joy. Although the instructions suggest pulling a card from the pack as inspiration, I found it easier to stack seven cards on a stand by my desk (one for every day of the week), and flip over a new one each morning when I sat down to work.
Mindfulness Cards: was $16 now $15 at Amazon
This pack of 50 mindfulness cards, developed by the team behind the buddhify meditation app, is designed to help boost your practice throughout the day. Each palm-sized card has a new exercise for you to try, from noticing the environment around you to offering gratitude to others in your life.
One of the things I’ve found difficult about mindfulness practices outside of meditation is that they often focus on more esoteric matters, and are less grounded in everyday life. That’s not the case here, as there are prompts about noticing the actual screen when watching TV and thinking about all the people involved with your morning coffee.
One of the most useful prompts in the pack reminds you to think of the person behind each email, text, or DM. It’s a really helpful exercise when you’re busy or having to deal with a difficult situation to remember that behind each string of digital text is another person, with their own challenges, also trying to make it through the day.
Meditation has been one of the most transformative things I’ve ever done, but it only lasts 15 minutes each day. That leaves a lot of time where you need to find other ways to strengthen your mindfulness muscle. The Mindfulness Cards are useful both as a practice prompt, but also as a mindfulness exercise in themselves as you read the card.
Of course, you may also prefer to mix up techniques and occasionally roll out a yoga mat to practice a more active form of mindfulness. You don’t need to take on a sweaty dynamic class either, as a week of slower yin yoga can help connect your body and mind, stretch your muscles, and develop core strength.
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James is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor, covering strength training workouts, cardio exercise, and accessible ways to improve your health and wellbeing.
His interest in fitness started after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and he began focusing on strengthening his core, taking regular walks around the city, and practicing meditation to manage the symptoms. He also invested in fitness trackers, home workout equipment, and yoga mats to find accessible ways to train without the gym.
Before joining the team at Tom’s Guide, James was the Fitness Editor at Fit&Well, where he covered beginner-friendly exercise routines, affordable ways to boost your wellbeing, and reviewed weights, rowing machines, and workout headphones.
He believes that exercise should be something you enjoy doing, so appreciates the challenge of finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life through short muscle-building sessions, regular meditation, and early morning walks.