Mindfulness is the action of paying attention in the present moment, in a particular way, non-judgmentally and with purpose.
Being busy and being mindful are not opposite. You can be present while being busy. Whether you are trying to implement more mindfulness in your daily activities or have a regular meditation practice. Here are a few tips to help you incorporate mindfulness in your daily tasks.
When in the shower, try not to get caught up in thinking about the day ahead. Instead, focus on the present moment. Feel the water on your skin, smell your shower gel. Practising Mindfulness in the shower will set a nice tone to your day and will probably inspire you to practise meditation upon rising. Meditative mornings are delicious and a fabulous way to start the day.
At the red traffic lights, take 3 deep breaths, check in with how you are feeling. After a few times, it will become a habit and support you in pausing and breathing with awareness throughout the day.
When you are in a line at the supermarket, at the bank or in any waiting room, really, appreciate the extra time you are given. Bring your attention to your breath, either at the tip of the nose or on focus on your belly rising as you inhale, and falling as you exhale.
Mindfulness is the simplest and most direct, the most thorough and effective method for training and developing the mind for its daily tasks and problems. -Nyanaponika Thera
Try not think about where you are going and be completely present in your walk. Focus on your feet touching the ground; this is grounding and it helps you concentrate. Become aware of all the body parts required to complete the action of walking. As you practise mindful walking and become more comfortable with it, you can gradually incorporate your senses: listen to the sounds around you, smell and watch your surroundings.
When you eat, you eat. When you drink, you drink. Be fully present. Don’t watch TV or read at the same time. Bring your whole attention to chewing and swallowing; notice the texture and the flavours of your food. Mindful eating is eating with intention: savour your food.
When having a conversation, listen 100% and meaningfully to the other person. Do not think about what and how you are going to respond. Listen openly and without judgement to what they are saying. It is OK to pause and breathe before formulating your answer. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the what is being said. Outside the context of a conversation, practise listening mindfully to the noises surrounding you. Over time, this will strengthen your mental muscles, develop your concentration and awareness.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. -Stephen R. Covey
Practise actually seeing what you are looking at. Sit on a bench in a park and consciously see what is around you. Inhale deeply and take in your surroundings. If you are at your desk at work, look out the window and remind yourself to take 5 long breaths in and out, while focusing on the view. Observe the object of your attention as if it was the very first time you saw it. This will help you connect with your environment.
Check in with your breath at regular intervals throughout the day or whenever you think of it, especially while performing the above actions. You will find that it becomes easier, more natural and you will quickly notice a change in yourself. People who practise Mindfulness regularly feel more peaceful, cope better with difficult feelings and thoughts in everyday life. It also helps us increase compassion and kindness towards ourselves and others.
Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skilfully made, lead to freedom. You don’t have to be swept away by your feelings. You can respond with wisdom and kindness rather than habit and reactivity. – Henepola Gunaratana.
- Use reminders to practise mindfulness during the day: an alarm on your phone, post-it notes…
- Make time in your calendar: if you schedule it, you are more likely to do it. Go ahead, grab your calendar and set two mindful dates of 10 minutes with yourself for this week.
- If you would like to learn more about this topic or practise other breathing exercises, please check out our previous post on Mindfulness and another one on Meditation for Beginners.
How do you practise Mindfulness during the day? Have you tried these exercises before? Tell us in the comments below what changes you have experienced.
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