This post is part two of a series inspired by a suggestion from a reader who asked, “how can we practice mindfulness off the meditation cushion?” In part one, I talked about mantra and today I’m going to share how to infuse mindfulness practice into daily activities.
Before jumping right into the deep end, it’s important to remember what the definition of mindfulness is as it relates to meditation, spiritual, or present moment awareness practice. Mindfulness is a mental factor of the mind that functions not to forget an object that the mind has realized. Using mindfulness, we keep a firm hold on whatever object or activity we are perceiving or performing.
Mindfulness is concentration and the more we exercise our focus, the stronger it becomes. Here are five exercises that take minimal effort and when incorporated into daily routines have significant results.
5 Mindfulness Exercises You Can Try Today
Begin each morning by asking, “what are five things that I appreciate?” Take these things and put them in a gratitude journal, it’s a wonderful way to exercise mindfulness and a powerful way to set intentions for the day ahead.
With this exercise, don’t just write out a list of five things go a bit deeper. Write out what the object is but then provide examples of why you appreciate the object. One to two sentences per object is a good starting point. Some examples include family and friends, morning coffee or tea, electricity, or anything we can take for granted.
When concentrating on the object contemplate:
• What would life be like without this object?
• Who created or creates these things that I enjoy?
• Where do they come from?
• Why is it that I have this opportunity to enjoy these things?
Life is busy and getting caught up in the mundane tasks that make up the day is pretty typical. So why not make these daily chores an exercise in mindfulness?
Here’s a list of some meditations that may be unfamiliar:
• Meditation on Brushing Teeth
• Meditation on Cooking or Preparing Food
• Eating Meditation
• Meditation on Cleaning (dishes, toilets, floors, etc.)
I’m half-joking by laying out this list of uncommon meditations, but in all seriousness how often do we engage in these chores with an agitated or distracted mind?
What if when we brush our teeth, we are fully involved in just brushing our teeth and not brushing our teeth while scrolling Facebook. Or when we eat food, paying attention to how the food feels as it enters our mouth and body without being distracted by Netflix.
It is often said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. If this is true, then the ears are the doors. Infusing mindfulness into our listening shows others that we have compassion and are actively participating in what is important to that person. Easier said than done.
In a time when so many people have their eyes glued to the screen of a device, no wonder people feel less connected.
Show others that they are important by giving them your full attention. When someone is speaking to you put the phone down, stop straightening up the living room, make eye contact and just listen without making any judgments.
Movement is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness since all things are always moving. When dancing, walking or running, doing yoga or exercise, the opportunity to reunite body with the mind is ever present.
In each action, pose or step pay attention to the sensations:
• How is this movement impacting my body and mind?
• Where in my body do I feel this particular action?
• When I engage in this action what is my mind doing?
• What is the relationship between my breath and body or mind when I take these steps?
All work and no play make the mindfulness practitioner way too series, so let’s have a bit of fun. For this particular exercise invite the inner child to come out and play. Then pick a random object. (This practice can be done inside, outside, in the car or wherever).
1. Choose the object and focus on it for one to two minutes
2. Observe the object as if you were seeing it for the first time
3. Pay attention to all the fine details
4. Permit yourself to connect with the energy and purpose of the object within the world
It may take a few times to get the hang of this exercise. But if we practice with the pure intention, it will become engaging, fun, and reconnect us to our surroundings in a compelling way.
Why is Mindfulness Important?
Practicing mindfulness on and off of the meditation cushion is important. By engaging in the above exercises overall health improves, relationships with others strengthen, and the mind calms and settles. Mindfulness provides space between the mind and emotions allowing time for investigation and the cultivation of deep inner peace.
Originally appeared on CM.
Photo by Pixabay.