10 Everyday Situations Perfect for Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, giving your full awareness to your surroundings and accepting it without judgment.

You don’t necessarily need to carve out a part of your day to practice mindfulness. In fact, incorporating it into some of your most mundane daily activities that you do on autopilot is the best way to start making it a habit.

Rather than expecting yourself to be mindful all the time, try breaking it up into small, short bursts of mindfulness throughout the day. You may make a lot more progress by doing it well for just a few minutes here and there rather than trying to make it last all day.

You can use some of the following common activities to act as triggers to be mindful.

1. Stretching.

Focus your attention on each different body part as you wake up in the morning—either while you’re still in bed, or the second you get up. Start by simply bringing your attention to your head and neck, working your way down through your entire body all the way to your feet and toes.

2. Brushing your teeth.

Your dentist will appreciate your mindful brushing! As you brush, place your awareness on your entire mouth and how everything feels. Notice the taste of toothpaste and the texture of the bristles as you sweep them back and forth across your teeth. Listen to the sound it makes, and feel the wetness of the extra saliva as it forms during those few minutes.

3. Taking a shower.

For a lot of people, showering is where a lot of thinking takes place. You can challenge yourself to put your thinking cap on hold and instead focus on how you’re lathering up. Feel the water hitting your skin, smell the scent of the soap or shampoo that you use, and watch the suds roll away into the drain.

4. Getting dressed.

The fashion conscious may have an easier time being mindful of what they put on in the morning, but there’s always room to improve! Pay attention to how the fabric of your clothes feel when you slip into them, noticing their fit and how they hang off your body. Take a moment to look at the colors or patterns of the fabric, and see if you can smell the scent of the laundry detergent that was used to wash it.

5. Making yourself a cup of coffee or tea.

How do you take your coffee? Or do you prefer tea? Whatever your idea of a perfect cup may be, chances are you’ve made it a million times. Now you have the opportunity to really zero in on the whole process as you make it—from listening to the high pitched whistle of the kettle or the “glug glug” sounds of the coffeemaker, to watching the swirling cream or sticky honey you stir into it.

6. Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If you’re watching your diet, mindful eating is going to help you out a lot. To start, avoid eating your meals in front of the TV or computer. Sit down at an actual table and look at your food as you pick it up with your fork. With each bite, notice the smell, the texture and of course the taste. Take it a step further by focusing on your chewing and how it feels when you swallow.

7. Driving/commuting to and from work.

Whether you take the subway with a whole crowd of people or drive to work alone, there’s lots to notice while you’re on your way. From the people who sit beside or in front you, to the scenery that whooshes by the windows, you can make mindfulness a game by treating your commute like you’ve never traveled that way ever before.

8. Walking into a new room or building.

Every doorway you pass through brings a new experience to your senses. Take advantage of that by focusing on everything you see, hear, smell or feel. When you find yourself noticing even the finest details, like a slight draft flowing through the room or even the pattern of the tiled floor beneath your feet, you’ll know you’re making great progress!

9. Cooking or preparing food.

We all have to eat, and while mindful eating is a good idea for everyone, you can even extend it a bit by bringing it to your food preparation as well. You can even do it for something as simple as making a sandwich or pouring milk into a bowl of cereal. You’ve probably done it hundreds of times, but have you ever really observed every little detail it involves?

10. Washing the dishes.

Washing dishes isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but you can make it less painful by practicing mindfulness while you do it. Focus your awareness on each scrub you make and how each dish feels in your hands. Listen to the sound that the water and scrubbing makes, and watch the grease melt away as you do it!

Mindfulness is meant to be kept simple. Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself thinking thoughts as you try do it, or missing certain details you should’ve noticed. Just acknowledge it, and let it go.

Related Articles
3 Visual Experiences That Can Improve Your Health
7 Unexpected Benefits of Unplugging from Technology
5 Tips to Help You Live in the Present Moment

Photo Credit: Basheer Tome

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