In a culture that embraces Adderall, paying attention has become the most sought-after skill for those looking for a competitive edge. From blurry-eyed college applicants to top executives, the ability to focus on what matters most is the key to coping—and competing—despite the stresses of daily life.

How do frazzled folks find calm and clarity in the middle of chaos? According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), an estimated 10 million people in the United States have turned to regular meditation.

That’s great. Really, it is. But the real challenge is reaching out to the 95% of the population that isn’t into meditation.

We want to meditate. Or, more precisely, we want to WANT to meditate! But we have our own barriers for starting or continuing a consistent meditation practice. The good news: we CAN develop great mindfulness without sitting in meditation!

I watched my clients’ eyes glaze over at the mere mention of meditation, so I created mindfulness exercises that are enjoyable and easy for anyone to do during a typical crazy day in the Real World. As a teacher and facilitator with my own 30-year meditation practice, I decided to zero in on two key elements: motivation and relevant learning style.

It’s not difficult to be mindful—it’s just hard to REMEMBER to be mindful. And so what we need are simple, fun activities to engage in and readily-available cues to remind us to pop into mindfulness mode while we’re doing them.

The key to EASILY adopting a new daily habit is to start with something you love to do. Knitting? Running? Gardening? Start with activities you find appealing and your natural enthusiasm will ensure that you continue!

Next up: make sure to develop mindfulness in the same way you PREFER to learn any new skill. Through words? Movement? Visual cues? Music? Being in nature? Spending time in conversation with others? The more you build your natural learning style into your mindfulness practice, the more likely you are to make it a seamless part of your daily routine.

As a mother of four kids, I understand how powerful play can be as a motivating force in learning new skills. We can increase awareness by finding interesting cues that remind us to practice paying attention wherever we are. You can evelop their own creative collection of mindfulness triggers—and the quirkier, the better! Even the McDonald’s Golden Arches can serve as a reminder to pay attention.

Emphasizes the fun factor and focus on reducing your barriers to learning. Sitting in silence with eyes closed is an ideal way for many people to learn to be more mindful, but it’s certainly not the only way! Feel free to incorporate sound, movement, words, numbers, nature, people or anything else that gets you excited about learning to pay attention.

Most of all, remember that anyone can play with mindfulness in order to increase awareness naturally. No matter how old you are or what you’re into, there’s a perfect blend of mindfulness training techniques that will help YOU connect to the world more meaningfully.

All you need to do is keep your eyes wide open and start playing with the possibilities for greater awareness all around you.

Ah… Don’t you feel better already?

Author's Bio: 

Maya Frost has taught thousands of people how to pay attention. Through her company, Real-World Mindfulness Training, she offers playful, powerful eyes-wide-open alternatives to meditation. To read her free tips and tricks for everyday awareness, visit