Life As A Mindful Digital Nomad

Are you a digital nomad, or are you considering becoming one? Digital nomads use technology to work from anywhere in the world. It’s great because you have a lot of freedom and can explore different countries and cultures. All you need is a computer, a decent internet connection, and, of course, work. 

It sounds awesome, but “being on the go” has its challenges. If traveling solo, it can get lonely sometimes. Problems with technology can be frustrating. And, don’t get us started on travel visas!

The good news is that there are many valuable tools to reduce the stress associated with this lifestyle… and mindfulness is the key.

What is Mindfulness? 

 

Mindfulness is about paying attention and being engaged in the present moment; it focuses on our awareness right now, without judgment or criticism. 

Let’s stop and think about the opposite of mindfulness: mindlessness. Mindlessness is all about NOT paying attention. 

Have you ever opened a bag of cookies, and before you realize it, the whole bag is gone? Or, have you looked for one post on Instagram and then start looking at another post, and another, and another, until an hour or two have passed? Or, have you been talking to someone while looking at emails and other messages on your phone, and noticed that you barely heard anything your friend said? 

These are examples of mindlessness in action. We spend A LOT of time here!

That is why mindfulness can be particularly valuable for digital nomads, especially when nomads struggle with work-life balance. Even better yet, practicing mindfulness is good for your health! It reduces stress, improves focus, and increases a sense of joy and satisfaction with life.

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Tips for Incorporating Mindfulness 

Here are some ways to incorporate mindfulness into the digital nomad lifestyle:

1. Breathe. We often take breathing for granted. It’s incredible, but taking a few slow, deep breaths has been scientifically proven to reduce stress because it sends a message to the brain to calm down. It also increases oxygen flow in the body, giving you more energy. 

 

Try it now. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Pay attention to what is happening in your body as you inhale and exhale. 

Congratulations! You are experiencing a moment of mindfulness.

2. Meditate. This is the next step in the process of developing greater mindfulness. You don’t have to meditate for hours; even five minutes daily can significantly affect your emotional mood and physical health. For example, meditation decreases depression and anxiety. It also helps reduce stress and improve focus. Best of all, practicing meditation releases “happy hormones” that make you feel better. 

Most styles of meditation incorporate sitting, walking, or lying. There are many meditation apps to help you get started. Insight Timer is one of my favorites. Headspace and Calm are also two popular apps.

3. Stay Present. As a digital nomad, getting distracted by our devices or planning our next adventure is easy. Instead, take time to appreciate the current experience. Take a walk. Remember to stop and look at your surroundings. Observe the people, animals, flowers, and architecture. Watch an animal for a while. Notice all the details of a flower. Even better, talk to someone new and listen to their experiences. 

The worst thing you can do is spend your afternoon in Bali answering Instagram DMs instead of taking time to genuinely appreciate the scenery around you.

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Also, take time to notice how you’re feeling, both physically and mentally. If you’re tired, take a rest. If you’re feeling critical about someone or something, simply notice those feelings. If you’re feeling happy, that’s awesome. Regularly checking in with yourself throughout the day can help you become more mindful.

Side note: This technique is known as “noting.” 

4. Express Gratitude. Expressing gratitude is another way to incorporate mindfulness. 

Can you think of one thing you are grateful for right now? It doesn’t have to be something profound. It can be simple, like, “I’m grateful for sunshine.” Here’s a gratitude website that’s full of resources to help you stay engaged in the present moment. Check it out!

Do you feel a little better after doing this? Practicing gratitude promotes well-being and leads to greater happiness. Gratitude is a great habit to develop.

The more you appreciate your life, the better you feel. Likewise, the better you feel, the better those you interact with will feel…. all because of a little mindful gratitude. 

5. Spread Kindness. What was the last act of kindness you did for yourself or someone else? As with gratitude, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Hold a door open for someone. Compliment someone. Even smiling at someone can make a big difference in someone’s day. Kindness is a way to connect with other people positively. 

 

Can you think of an act of kindness you can practice today?

Maybe it’s paying $5 USD for that .50 cent bracelet the girl in Sao Paolo was selling on the street, or maybe it’s telling a beloved friend how much you appreciate them with no reciprocity expected. Whatever it is, technology has enabled us to “scale” our acts of kindness beyond what was ever before thought possible.

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Kindness is the gift that keeps on giving. By offering acts and words of kindness, with mindfulness, you will feel better, and the people you interact with will feel better too. 

Being a Mindful Digital Nomad Makes Life A Whole Lot Better

Practicing mindfulness is an excellent tool for digital nomads looking to balance work and travel while staying present and engaged in joyful experiences and…. appreciating life’s gifts. 

So what are you waiting for? Give mindfulness a try and see how much better you feel!

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