Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Every day mindfulness

Often I am asked if there are other ways to practice mindfulness than just in meditation.


Unfortunately, the way mindfulness is often portrayed leaves us thinking that mindfulness in just about meditation.

In fact mindfulness is about how to live in the world.

So here are some easy ways you can gently bring mindful attention to your everyday life:

One minute attention:

1. For one minute, stop what you are doing
2. At your desk, at a stop light, before eating a meal.
3. Relax your shoulders
4. Relax your jaw
5. Simply watch your breath
6. When finished, take a beep cleansing breath

Mindful eating:

1. Create an environment that is conducive to eating: Turn off phones, T.V., computers, etc.
2. Put a minimal amount of food on your plate.
3. Take a moment to pause and look at the food you are about to enjoy: look at the colors, shapes, and textures
4. Choose your first bite.
5. Put your utensil down, fold your hands in your lap and chew
6. Pause after you shallow before taking your next bite.

You may be surprised that you do not eat as much.

Walking mindfully.

Walking is something we also do every day. Too often we rush about oblivious to what is going on around us. We miss so much!

Here is a way to use walking as a way to awaken our senses:

1. While walking (in the grocery store, out to your car after work, to a meeting or appointment) just slow your pace down just a bit
2. Choose one of your senses and notice what is going on. What there is to see, or hear, or feel, or smell.
3. Stay with that sense for a minute.
4. Then change to another sense and again notice what that sense is picking up.

As with any practice of mindfulness, if your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the practice.