It can be helpful to keep our ‘ mindfulness muscles’ in shape during the good times, so that when we really need this greater awareness during tough times , they are strong. One great way to give our mindfulness muscles a workout is to pay deliberate attention to our routine , everyday activities . Even doing this once a day can be beneficial .
As mentioned earlier, being on autopilot is risky for people prone to depression, because we can miss the warning signs that may signal a downward spiral . Bringing mindfulness to an everyday activity , such as eating , brushing our teeth , or driving , is another way to pause and check in with ourselves for as we pay attention in a new way to a routine task, we can sometimes exposer thoughts and feelings that we weren’t even aware lurked beneath our consciousness . Interestingly, many people also find that practising this gentle, moment-to-moment awareness makes the task itself feel easier , more interesting, less stressful and even enjoyable .
The key to bring mindfulness to an everyday task is to open yourself up fully to the experience without judgement and with gentle curiosity . Tune in to your sense of touch, taste , smell, sight and hearing , and the way your body moves. Be aware of your breathing as you perform the task, noticing any feelings such as stress, impatience, anger , sadness or joy. You may observe tension in a particular part of your body ; perhaps your chest feels tight or your breathing shaloow. You can use your breathing to let go of these difficult sensations, or to simply to breathe while allowing yourself to ‘be’ with whatever you are experiencing .
So when can we practise everyday mindfulness?
The answer is any time! You might choose a new task to focus on each day, or stick to the same for a week to see how your awareness develops. The list of possible times is endless but here are a few examples:
1- Brushing your teeth : Where is your mind as you brush your teeth?
2-Showering: Sense the water on your body, the temperature , the pressure.
3- Preparing food: Any food preparation is a great opportunity for mindfulness.
4- Eating: Try having a meal in silence, really focusing on the food and the sensations of eating. This involves attending only to eating ( on TV , radio, reading!) and the movements and flavours involved in eating.
5-Washing up: This is an opportunity to pay attention to seeing , moving, and feeling all the sensations associated with the washing up, such as the temperature of the water and the sensation of the bubbles.
6- Driving: Try driving without daydreaming, listening to music or other distractions. Pay attentions to the actions involved, the focus of your vision , the sensations in your hands, feet and back.
7-Read traffic lights: While in your car waiting for the light to turn green, sit quietly , peacefully and become aware of your breath.
8- Walking: Pay attention to the sensations of walking, using bottoms of your feet as anchors for attention.
9- Telephone: When the phone rings, stop before answering to tune into your thoughts , feelings and body , breathing with these before answering.
10- Email: Like the phone, before answering your messages , tune into any thoughts , feelings , bodily , sensations, breathing with these until your mind is more settled.
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