How to bring mindfulness into your life today
1.5 min read. Last week, we introduced our new mindfulness course for beginners. This week, we illustrate how to turn any simple, routine task into a mindful exercise.
Mindfulness, true mindfulness, is a state of being. It is allowing and noticing what is unfolding in the moment in your external environment, and within your internal world of sensations, thoughts and feelings. It is noticing, being unattached to what you are sensing and feeling in your body. Mindfulness is observing the thoughts that arise, without judgement. It is a place of impartial observation.
As a theory, it sounds very simple! The challenge, however, lies in the practical application of mindfulness. But the good news is, that anyone can do it. And, you can begin at any time. Every single moment throughout the day, presents an opportunity for mindfulness – even during the most mundane tasks we do at home.
Here are 4 ways to start integrating mindfulness into your daily life, right now, without the need for any device, app, special candle or cushion!
#1 Mindful dishwashing!
Washing the dishes, argh! A pain, right!? However, this is a way to make it not so painful, maybe even enjoyable.
Engage your sense of touch, notice the feel of the water on your hands, the warmth, the silkiness, the bubbles tingling and popping. Breathe in any fragrance from the dishwashing liquid. Check your posture and feel into the sensations of standing solid, feet on the floor. You may even allow a sense of satisfaction to wash over you as you complete one dish and move onto the next.
#2 Showering with awareness
If your anything like me this can be a time of planning and also worrying about what’s next! Exhausting! You can begin to train your mind to switch out this unsupportive worry and future planning thoughts (because it’s not here yet, and you don’t know what is going to happen!) with more supportive and uplifting moment to moment awareness. The shower going, notice the sound. The warmth on your skin, feel into the sensation of it raining down gently on you, washing away the tiredness, the stress from before. Giving you a chance to reset. Feel into the reset moment. Take some conscious breaths, feel your feet on the tiles or bath. Notice the fragrance of the soap or shampoo. Watch the steam rise.
# 3 A mindful morning cuppa
Ah my morning cuppa is a must and has become a ritual of pausing to nurture myself and I wonder if it is something you might be able to incorporate? It can become a sensory experience of noticing the whole process with sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. It can also contain the attitudes of nurturing and gratitude. Nurturing yourself with this moment of pause and enjoyment and weaving in feelings of gratitude for all who made this possible for you. Being curious about where the tea or coffee came from. The cup…the milk, the tap that supplied the water, the kettle that made it. All the human hands who made this small moment possible for you. It’s really quite amazing.
#4 Roadtripping with conscious awareness
As a new driver, I remember long drives from Melbourne to my parent’s farm. I loved these drives. The open road provided me with a sense of freedom. However, there were times when the monotony of the roads would make me feel tired. On one occasion, I had a very close call. I was driving and began to feel tired. That tiredness turned into almost a hypnotic daze. I was on autopilot, and drifted off to sleep. I awoke as I headed into the centre median strip, which was thankfully there separating me from the oncoming traffic. What a shock!!!
Driving is very much an activity performed by the subconscious mind. We can often drive to our destination without even remembering how we got there! That is because our conscious mind has flittered off elsewhere without coming back into present awareness, potentially for the entire journey!
It becomes a practice in staying connected to the vehicle you are controlling. You might start by feeling into your sense of touch and noticing the texture or smoothness of the steering wheel. Feeling those points of contact your body have with the driver’s seat, on your back and bottom and legs. Feel the sensations of contact. Notice the light or lights from cars etc if at night. Notice the sounds, the car sound, the horns, the sound of the tyres on the road. Take your attention to any smells inside the car. Perhaps even winding down the window and feeling the wind on your face.
Mindfulness as a way home
As you might have come to realise you really can apply mindfulness to every aspect and moment in your life. It’s simple training that requires repetitious and constant practice. Cultivating this state of mind assists us in becoming the witness to our thoughts and to the states of emotions when we are in moments of stress and chaos. Mindfulness presents us with a gap where we get to choose. Where we get to see that there is another way, another path, and you can come home to a calmer and more balanced state. It is about slipping into that gap with a few simple breaths, and a few simple moments of coming to your senses.
Julie (Vice-Principal of ACMM)
More about our new elective: Bringing Mindfulness Home
Bringing mindfulness home offers a beginners program to learn more about mindfulness and how it can support you in your daily life. This program offers step by step techniques and activities that support you in incorporating this ancient art into your life. In this elective you will learn how mindfulness can be done easily and simply; dispelling myths and misconceptions around mindfulness. It delves into a variety of mindfulness techniques so that you can find the one/s that fit best for you.