Tips & Tricks, Mindfulness 4 minute read

3 steps to a more mindful mindset this winter

Australians are sticklers for summer. We love our warm days and balmy nights, and we make the most out of the extended sunlight by being social, active, and generally engaged in life. 

As we head into winter, many of us begin to draw comparisons between then and now, and what’s to come over the next few months, at times losing out ability to be mindful as the days become cooler, darker and shorter.

We envisage how much better life will be when the days are longer again and the sun is warm. We tell ourselves that it’s too dark and cold to exercise now, or to venture out to catch up with friends.

Of course, winter is a time for turning inward – to rest and rejuvenate. But how can we make sure that while we turn in, we’re not losing mindfulness and stress about things we shouldn't be? Here we will look at 3 steps to ensuring a more mindful mindset this winter, that will help with working, mindful parenting and being more present for life. 

These steps are especially important considering the ‘winter blues’ (and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) at the extreme) are very real risks for southern Australians and those who live in more wintery destinations around the world.

For me, the principles and practice of mindfulness has helped achieve a mindful mindset year round from one of resistance, judgement and impatience to one of acceptance, patience and curiosity - I am notably happier for it.

To find the same happiness in your life, it is important to develop a more mindful mindset, with the first three steps you can take outlined below. 

Here's three steps to achieve a more mindful mindset;

  1. Stop judging
  2. Practice patience 
  3. Foster curiosity

Mindful mindset step 1 - Stop judging

Mindfulness invites us to be non-judging. This means stepping back from the constant stream of categorising and reacting to the world, and assuming the stance of an impartial observer.

As soon as we enter this world people are judged and evaluated: good boy, good girl, and so on are the responses adults use when children manage a new skill. Judging is deeply engrained into our psyche and you may find that letting go of judgement does not come naturally at first.

The good news is that your brain has the capacity to expand and create new neuro pathways as you start to think and experience things differently.

Firstly pay full attention when your mind begins to judge something, whether it be yourself, another person, a situation, an object. You may be surprised how often you judge something throughout the day.

Our minds are often overactive overactive judging everything that it can make you overwhelmed when you become really aware of it. 

Try to notice and even jot down all the judging that goes on in your mind if only for an hour. Afterwards notice any patterns that emerge. For example, do you mainly judge yourself, other people, life, the government or activities you engage with, or just everything?

Judgement will happen on your journey to a more mindful mindset. You may have thoughts along the lines of: 'What a bizarre concept to be more mindful?’ or ‘How can this stupid watching of my breath help my marriage?’ Simply notice that all thoughts of this nature are fruitless judgements and evaluations. Just observe them for what they are and, as best as you can, let them pass by before returning to your mindfulness practice. If you don’t feed these thoughts, they’re most likely to reduce over time.

Congratulate yourself each time for noticing judgement and for letting go and just letting it be.

This year, I am doing my best to adopt this attitude during the 10-minute walk between my car and the office each day. Historically, this was a time that I dreaded—stepping out into the cold, sometimes wet and often windy conditions. Now, I step out, take a breath, and simply notice the environment around me.

It’s not good or bad, it just is - with no judgement.


Mindful mindset step 2 - Practice patience

Patience is often described as a gift that only some people have. However we all have the ability to develop patience over time. Today's fast paced, convenience based, 'quick-fix' society doesn't help us in developing patience on your journey to mindfulness. 

Be sure you physically give yourself time to practice mindfulness and to build patience. 

The best mantra for patience when life is making you impatient is 'this too shall pass'. Live in the present and let your patience allow you the ability to forget the future and past and focus on the here and now. 

When you develop patience and allow life to present itself to you as it is, you start to observe the little miracles that life presents: a flower growing out of a small crack in the wall, a smile from an unknown passerby, a beautiful scent in the air, the wind gently caressing your face and so, so much more.


Mindful mindset step 3 - Foster curiosity

Engaging the five senses has been a useful ‘formula’ to practicing mindfulness on my commute. By paying attention to all the different things I can see, I have noticed the changing colours of the leaves, the dew on the grass, and the striking shapes of the bare tree branches.

By tuning in to all the different sounds around me, I have noted the morning chorus of birds, humming radiators, and the crisp crunch of leaves underfoot. Through engaging my sense of smell, taste and touch, I have noticed the sweet scent of the rain, the intense aroma of coffee wafting from café’s, and the cool air against my cheeks.

Shifting mindsets this year has undoubtedly helped me stay engaged and connected to myself and to others. I am more willing to catch up with friends or go for a jog, and walking to work has become far more interesting and far less distressing!

The darker, cooler months ahead no longer present an unbearable prospect, but a rich opportunity to practice mindfulness, and potentially see the world in a different light. 

To get started on your journey to a more mindful mindset why not download our FREE Smiling Mind app or find out more about mindfulness here

Smiling Mind’s vision is to see every mind thrive. 

We will do so by providing accessible, life-long tools to support healthy minds through our FREE mindfulness app. We are a 100% not-for-profit organisation that works to make mindfulness education accessible to all.

Smiling Mind

Written by Smiling Mind


Self-care tips for parents, from The Wholesome Doctor

Self Care is all about checking in with yourself regularly and asking yourself "What do I need in this moment?" 

Family, Parents, Informal mindfulness 4 minute read

Navigating emotions with your child

By encouraging your child to acknowledge and recognise how they feel in the present moment, not in the past and not in t...

Family, Parents, Self care, Informal mindfulness 3 minute read

3 steps to support your child through worries

Children excel when they have caring, trustworthy, and supportive relationships with others in their lives. You as their...

Family, Parents, Self care, Informal mindfulness 3 minute read

5 top tips to support your child's mental health

The Smiling Mind State of Mind report found that 41% of parents reported the pandemic has had a negative impact on the m...

Children, Family, Parents, Informal mindfulness 6 minute read
Quote of the week
“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.”
Pema Chödrön

At home

5 top tips to support your child's mental health

The Smiling Mind State of Mind report found that 41% of parents reported the pandemic has had a negative impact on the m...

Children, Family, Parents, Informal mindfulness 6 minute read

Findings from our annual State of Mind report

With the COVID-19 pandemic stretching into its second year, supporting the mental health of Australians has never been m...

Children, Mental Health, COVID19 3 minute read

Responding to the “hidden” youth mental health crisis

Throughout the 18 long months of the COVID pandemic, a parallel mental health crisis has been growing in the shadows. No...

Children, Students, Mental Health 2 minute read

At Work

5 Tips To Help Recognise and Address Workplace Stress

As you slowly make your way back to the office and transition from the working from home lifestyle, you can be met with ...

Workplace, Mental Health, Meditation, Self care, Informal mindfulness 4 minute read

3 tips to help you Do Nothing

Smiling Mind has teamed up with the Do Nothing Challenge to help raise money for mental health and establish healthy hab...

Workplace, Mental Health, Self care, COVID19 3 minute read

5 Ways to Support Your Team's Mental Health This October

It comes as no surprise that the combination of public health and economic crises that has occurred over the past year h...

Workplace, Mental Health, Self care, COVID19 3 minute read

At school

5 Steps To A Better Night’s Sleep

It’s no secret getting a good night’s sleep works wonders for your mental and physical health – but for some, getting a ...

Family, Students, Schools, Mental Health, Meditation, Informal mindfulness 5 minute read

3 Ways to Support Your Kids As They Return To The Classroom

After months of lockdown and homeschooling for the country’s two most populated cities, the time has finally come for ki...

Family, Students, Schools, Informal mindfulness 3 minute read

5 minutes with Principal, Tip Kennedy.

Meet Tip Kennedy. Tip is a principal at Richmond West, an inner Melbourne primary school that recently received its very...

Teachers, Schools 3 minute read


How Smiling Mind put preventative Mental Health care on the map

There is perhaps no greater challenge than to start something out of nothing.  Ten years ago, this is exactly the challe...

Mental Health, COVID19, Media release 2 minute read

Partnership Announcement - Kmart

We are excited today to announce a new partnership between Smiling Mind and Kmart. Built on a shared vision of a happier...

Mental Health, Media release 1 minute read

Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System is a game changer for mental health prevention

Smiling Mind has supported findings released today from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, speci...

Media release 2 minute read
Recent initiatives
Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 3.30.05 pm

NAIDOC Week with Jack Charles