10 ways to bring mindfulness into your day

Mindfulness isn’t just about meditation – here’s how to incorporate the art into your everyday life.

Many people think meditation is a practice which involves emptying your mind of thoughts. This misconception can leave beginners feeling like ‘bad’ meditators. Mindfulness meditation is not about emptying the mind, but rather stabilising our attention and training our minds to be more focussed, effective and skillful in everyday life.

You can bring mindfulness to everyday activities simply by tuning in to your senses, which helps you to actually be present to what you are doing, rather than lost in thinking.

Here are ten steps to bring mindfulness into your daily life:

1. Be mindful in conversation

Use listening as a meditation. Pay attention to the whole person speaking. Notice the sound and rhythm of their voice and their facial expressions. Notice your mind drifting off into fantasy or thinking whilst the person is speaking. Notice your urge to speak – is it easier for you to listen or talk?

2. Be mindful when eating

Notice the food on your plate. Pay attention to colours, shapes and smells. Bring awareness to the sensation of chewing and the flavours, textures and temperatures in your mouth. Notice any urge to eat quickly or swallow your food without chewing it completely. Be aware of the mind being hijacked from the experience of eating and gently bring it back to the food.

3. Be mindful in supermarket queues

Tune in to the body. Notice your feet on the ground, the sounds, and your breath. Check in with how you are feeling, notice any irritation or impatience in the body and using the breath, see if you can let it go.

4. Be mindful on social media

Before checking in to Facebook or Twitter, bring a conscious intention to the amount of time you are intending to spend engaging on social media. Notice the urge to keep checking and scrolling through the feed. Notice any emotions that arise as you experience other people’s lives.

5. Be mindful while driving

Notice your hands on the wheel. Feel your posture. Notice any tension in the body and actively relax the body. Let your shoulders be soft, perhaps turn off the radio and be in silence. Notice any urges to use your phone.

6. Be mindful in confrontation

Tune in to the body, notice any sensations that come with anger or fear as you are in a difficult conversation: heat, tightness, a rapid heartbeat? Notice your urge to defend or react in some way. Anchor your attention to sensations in the body as you negotiate.

7. Be mindful at the gym

Tune in to the sensations of your body while exercising. Notice the kind of thoughts that arise when you are exerting yourself. Take a moment to be grateful for the capacity of your body to so miraculously function.

8. Be mindful in bed

So many people use digital technology, whether laptops or phones, in bed. Phones are commonly used as alarm clocks these days. Notice how you relate to technology in the bedroom and whether this impacts on your ability to fall asleep.

9. Be mindful in the shower

Choosing something you do regularly each day can be a helpful way to remember to practise mindfulness. Tune in to the sensations of water and temperature on your skin. Notice when your mind wanders off and gently bring it back to the sensations of your body.

10. Be mindful when walking

These days we often do many things while walking – we listen to iPods, text message, speak on our phones. Try using walking as a mindful practice. Feel your feet making contact with the ground. Notice what it feels like to walk a little slower if you’re not actually in a rush. Take in your surroundings, the smells, the colours, the sounds. Use mindful walking between meetings to create a moment of mindfulness in your day.

 

Recommended reading - Issue Seven Autumn 2014

Community

12 food documentaries

These documentaries will show the food you eat in a whole new light.

Read more
Lifestyle

The history of the band-aid

Health humorist Nick Snelling charts the journey of the invaluable sticky plaster.

Read more
Community

A sweeter deal

Pioneering the shift towards natural, sugar-free alternatives.

Read more
Community

Free mindfulness training for groups

Build happier and healthier workplaces, classes, teams or groups with a free Smiling Mind program.

Read more
Lifestyle

Evolution of the football boot

From humble beginnings to cutting-edge technology, we trace the history of the footy boot.

Read more
Lifestyle

How to use pomegranate seeds

Here's how to get the most out of pomegranates.

Read more
Recipes

Vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing

This scrumptious cupcake recipe by children's cookbook author Emily Rose Brott is sure to be a hit.

Read more
Recipes

6 light risotto recipes

Mix textures, colours and flavours with these inspiring risotto recipes.

Read more
Community

35 not out

Going back to the sports of our youth.

Read more
Recipes

Crumbed chicken and salsa in pita recipe

Emily Rose Brott shares a great chicken recipe for kids.

Read more
Community

The Women’s Health Book by The Royal Women’s Hospital

Written by women’s health professionals, this book is a rich health and wellbeing resource.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.