Practicing Mindfulness the easy way
There are things you do every day that become part of your weekly routine. Neurologically these everyday tasks become short linked so that you’re not wasting unnecessary time and brain energy. For instance, think back to the first time you were ever taught to brush your teeth or ride a bicycle. If your muscles and brain had to work that hard each time to recall how to perform these actions, you’d only get 4 things done a day! Therefore these daily activities become automatic and we often find that we’re off thinking about other things, or not even paying attention, when driving or washing etc.
This isn’t a bad thing, and in fact enables us to be a lot more productive as a species. However the problem arises when you begin to feel like your entire day is on autopilot, rushing by you and at the end of the day you don’t know where it’s gone! Sometimes we have days where we feel we’ve been productive and busy, but didn’t actually get anything done! And more often than not we go to send someone an email, get sidetracked by other emails etc, and next thing you know an hour’s gone past and you still haven’t sent the email you first intended to send.
Besides many other benefits, mindfulness exercises have shown to increase our sense of control physically, mentally and emotionally. It teaches us to recognise and feel grateful for the simple things, and gives us better perspective on appreciating everyday life.
Therefore without having to take ‘extra time’ out of your day to practice mindfulness, why not start by incorporating it into your usual weekly life?
Below are a list of daily activities most of us perform. Pick one of your usual habits and simply do it mindfully for that week. By ‘mindfully’ I mean do it with intention and focus. And when the mind wanders off, which is completely normal for human beings, simply bring your attention and full awareness to the task at hand, until it’s over. Chose a different task for each week, so that you gain different perspectives and expand your mindful awareness over different experiences. For instance if you’re having a shower, really look at your walls and features around you. Feel the different sensations on your skin between water and soap, listen to what the water and your surroundings sound like, the smells, taste in your mouth etc! It is often helpful to have an alarm/alert or a little sticker strategically placed, to remind me (see previous article). Most of these habits are so automatic that unless reminded, you may just continue your week without realising it
MINDFUL DAILY HABITS
- Brushing teeth
- Putting on your shoes
- Walking through your front door
- Putting on make-up/shaving
- Getting undressed – driving your car
- Taking an elevator/escalator/stairs
- Feeding a pet
- Preparing a snack
- Setting the alarm
- Watering plants
- Drinking a glass of water
- Going to the bathroom!
As always feel free to share this post with anyone that may find it interesting and leave me comments about your experiences!