Helpful articles for overcoming life's challenges

Easy Mindfulness

We’re all busy, and many of us don’t have time (or are unwilling to make time) to formally practice mindfulness skills. However, we can practice informally throughout the day. Here are a couple of ways of practicing mindfulness:

 1) Mindfulness in the Morning

Pick an activity that is part of your daily morning routine, such as brushing your teeth, shaving, or having a shower. When you do it, totally focus on what you are doing: the body movements, the taste, the touch, the smell, the sight, the sound etc.

As an example, when you’re in the shower, notice the sounds of the water as it sprays out of the nozzle and as it hits your body. Notice the temperature of the water, and the feel of it in your hair, and on your shoulders, and running down our legs. Notice the smell of the soap and shampoo, and the feel of them against your skin. Notice the sight of the water droplets on the walls or shower curtain, the water dripping down your body and the steam rising upwards. Notice the movements of your arms as you wash or scrub or shampoo.

When thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them be, and bring your attention back to the shower. Again and again, your attention will wander. As soon as you realize this has happened, gently acknowledge it, note what distracted you, and bring your attention back to the shower.

 2) Mindfulness While Completing Chores

Pick a chore that you normally try to rush through, or distract yourself from; or one for which you just ‘grit your teeth’ and try to ‘get through it’. For example: ironing clothes, washing dishes, vacuuming floors, and making the kids’ lunches. Aim to do this chore as a mindfulness practice. For example, when ironing clothes: notice the color and shape of the clothing, and the pattern made by the creases, and the new pattern as the creases disappear. Notice the hiss of the steam, the creak of the ironing board, the faint sound of the iron moving over the material. Notice the grip of your hand on the iron, and the movement of your arm and your shoulder.

If boredom or frustration arises, simply acknowledge it, and bring your attention back to the task at hand. When thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them be, and bring your attention back to what you are doing.

Again and again, your attention will wander. As soon as you realize this has happened, gently acknowledge it, note what distracted you, and bring your attention back to your current activity.

 Now try to think of any other quick ’n’ easy informal mindfulness exercises you could do – e.g. while waiting in line at the grocery store or at traffic lights you could practice mindfulness of your impatience; or when eating dinner, you could aim to eat the first two mouthfuls mindfully.

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