If you’re one of the 70 million Americans who struggle with sleep, you’ve probably heard about the connection between mindfulness and good ZZZZs. One study from the Journal of Psychosomatic Research shows that insomnia patients slept better—and felt better—after learning a technique called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). In another recent report, researchers at Harvard explained that focusing on “moment-by-moment experiences, thoughts, and emotions” can help people sleep better, and feel happier and more energized.
The link between tuning-in to your mind, body, and surroundings and getting reliable sleep is well documented. With that in mind, here’s something new to add to your sleep toolkit: a simple, fun mindfulness practice called Today I Noticed. We created this practical framework for daily mindfulness after falling off the meditation pillow yet again. Even though quiet, seated meditation wasn’t cutting it, we still wanted to incorporate mindfulness—and all the goodness that goes with it, like a better night’s sleep—into our daily lives. So, we embarked on an adventure in active noticing. Today, nearly three years later, Today I Noticed has fundamentally changed how we think about and move through the world.
A Deceptively Simple Approach to Mindfulness
Today I Noticed is all about slowing down and appreciating what’s around (and within) us, simply by paying attention. The prompt, “Today I noticed,” is a reminder to notice some of the funny, surprising, sweet, and mundane moments in ordinary life that we all see but rarely take the time to notice. (Just as you can “hear” someone without actually listening to them, we’ve discovered you can see something without really noticing it … in fact, we all do it every day!).
The deceptively simple phrase also serves as an invitation to observe and interact with the world in a richer, more nuanced way.
Capture and Preserve Your Observations
We dial-up our appreciation for everyday moments by writing about our observations and illustrating them in some way. This daily practice keeps our creative juices flowing and reminds us that we’re all artists in our own weird and wonderful way. Just as important? Having a regular creative practice fosters our focus and boosts our sense of tranquility and well-being—all of which can increase the chances of zonking out at bedtime.
Here are just a few moments we might have missed if it wasn’t for Today I Noticed:
Feel Nourished, Calm … and Primed for Sleep!
Maybe best of all, we don’t need to get up early, sit in silence, or count our breaths to embrace this mindfulness practice. We simply to let three words, “Today I noticed,” inspire us to pay attention to the little things that usually slip away unnoticed. That, in turn, leaves us feeling nourished and grounded. Small things become more interesting and memorable just because we took the time to notice them. Plus, we’ve found that the more we notice, the more we notice—and the more we notice ourselves noticing. Turns out that’s where the real magic happens.
Today I Noticed is a practical, natural way to incorporate mindfulness and creativity into daily life, both of which can leave you feeling calm, fulfilled, and joyful. If it can also induce a better night’s sleep, that’s reason enough to give this easy, new approach to mindfulness a whirl.
Start Your Noticing Practice Today
1. Start paying attention to little moments—thoughts, feelings, observations—as you go through your day. Nothing is too “small” to notice and appreciate.
2. On a piece of paper, starting with the words, “Today I noticed,” write about your observation with a sentence or two.
3. Create a sketch or some kind of visual to accompany your TIN. Remember, everyone is an artist in their own unique way.
4. Congratulations! You’ve officially embarked on a mindful noticing adventure. (If you tag us on Instagram (@today.i.noticed), we’d love to see what you’re noticing.) Savor the journey—and sweet dreams!