Have you heard of mindfulness but, have no idea how to actually practice it? Mindfulness may sound like a good idea but for many it feels abstract and unattainable. If this sounds familiar this post is for you! In this post I share how we can practice mindfulness in our everyday lives.
Mindfulness is about living in the present moment by focusing your attention to your current surroundings. By being mindful we can experience the present more fully, which can decrease stress and anxiety and increase feelings of joy, peace, and contentment. Here are three daily activities that we can do mindfully: eating, walking, and bathing.
1) Mindful Eating: How often do you find yourself eating food very quickly? Perhaps eating while you’re driving, watching TV, or scrolling through the Internet? Mindful eating allows you to maintain the in the moment awareness even while eating and drinking. It can help you observe how food makes you feel and notice the sensations in your body that help cue your fullness and also bring more pleasure.
How can I eat mindfully?: You can engage in mindful eating but slowing down the eating process. Try eating at the table, without distractions, and using your senses to be present with your food.
Notice the way the food looks such as its color.
Notice the way it smells, bring it to your nose and take in a whiff. What does it smell like?
Notice the texture of the food by touching it with your hands.
Notice the feeling and taste as you eat slowly.
This can help you feel more calm, present, enjoyable and can also reduce over eating.
2) Mindful Walking: How often do we rush outside to grab the mail, run out the door to head to work, or take a walk but, we are in our heads thinking about what happened today or worried about what you have to do tomorrow?
How can I walk mindfully?: Mindful walking is about slowing down your thoughts. Bringing them to the present moment by noticing your surroundings. When you take a walk outside:
What do you see? – trees, blue skies, purple flowers, a yellow house.
What do you hear? A car rattling by, a siren nearby, kids laughing next door, a bird chirping in the sky, music playing.
What do you smell? Bread baking in the restaurant next door, roses in the garden, fresh water smell from the ocean.
What do you feel? The fresh air on your face, a light breeze, the sun kissing your skin, the rocks on the ground.
As you answer these questions by paying attention to the present moment you may notice the anxiety you felt about tomorrow dissipates. The disappointment you felt from earlier is not as bad, because you are no longer in the past or the future. You are living fully in the present moment and appreciating the beauty that surrounds you.
3) Mindful Bathing: How often do you rush a shower in the morning to make it work on time or quickly rinse off after work as you’re thinking about the next task you have to accomplish or ruminating about how your boss upset you? Mindful bathing can take a necessary hygienic activity and make it into an act of calming self-care. Think of your bathing as a sacred time for you to engage in self-care and de-stress after work or start your day off fresh in the morning.
How can I bathe mindfully?: Take your time when bathing in the shower or schedule time to take a bath. Focus on the here and now.
Notice the sensation of the hot, warm or cold water in your body.
Notice the feeling of the steam as it hits your face or how it frosts over the mirror.
Notice the sound of the shower water hit your body and the ground or the sound of more bath water running.
Swish your feet in your bath water and notice how it sounds and feels.
Run a bubble bath and appreciate the sensation of bubbles on your hands and the rets of your body.
Notice the smell of the bubbles or the bath soap as you lather up.
Focus your thoughts on act of bathing using your sensation and if you notice your mind wondering off, just bring back your attention to the sound of the running water, the hot steam on your skin, and the fresh smell of the soap. By focusing on the here and now bathing becomes a fresh start to your day or a peaceful transition home.
Try mindfulness in these daily activities and notice how you feel. Do you experience more joy and peace in the little moments?