Being Mindful With Your Toothbrush – How To Fit Meditation Into Your Day
Mindfulness meditation brings a range of benefits including reducing stress and anxiety, improving emotional control, sharpening your concentration and making your brain work faster. Mindfulness expert, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, explains that
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
However I find one of the challenges of a busy stressful day is finding the time to mediate. Here are 5 easy ways to practise mindfulness by fitting mediation into your everyday life, courtesy of the chilled people at PsyBlog.
Some things we do so often that we almost don’t notice them any more. Habits, like brushing your teeth, are usually performed automatically, while the mind skips off to other plans, worries or regrets. Instead, try to focus on that chore and really experience it. Notice how the brush moves over your teeth and the taste of the toothpaste.
Another routine that can incorporate mindfulness exercises is showering or bathing. Let your senses feed on the process and bring your mind back when it wanders off to other worries or thoughts. You can perform any chore mindfully and you might be surprised what you notice.
If you do any period of undisturbed walking during the day — at least ten or fifteen minutes — then you can do a little walking mindfulness meditation. It’ll be easiest if done somewhere with fewer distractions, but try it anywhere and see what happens.
As when cultivating all forms of mindfulness, it’s about focusing the attention. At first, people often concentrate on the sensation of their feet touching the ground. Then you could just as easily focus on your breath or move the attention around your body, part by part. The key, though, is to develop a sort of relaxed attention. When your mind wanders away, bring it back gently, without judging yourself.
When you are eating today you can practice a little mindfulness meditation while you eat. When you take the first bite of any meal, just take a moment to really pay attention to the taste. Look at the food carefully, feel the textures in your mouth, smell it and notice how your body reacts to it. You don’t need to keep this up all the way through the meal, but use it every now and then to focus your attention.
At any time during the day, take a moment to focus on one breath. Breathe in, then breathe out. Focus your attention on how this feels, where you notice the air moving, how your chest and abdomen move. Try it now. You’re not looking for a revelation from this experience; think of it more like a little mental push-up for your mind. That’s it, or if you want to extend it to a few more breaths, that’s fine.
Any time that’s convenient, try a little mindful listening. We get used to a lot of the sounds that are around us and quickly tune them out. If you live in the city, there might be police sirens, train announcements and people sneezing. In the countryside there could be trees rustling, birds calling or a gate creaking.
What can you hear right now?
Or, put on some music and really listen to it for a short period: try to hear the music without thinking about it. Try not to let your mind wander to things it reminds you of, to judgments about the music or think about the lyrics too much. Just allow the music to flow over you and for you to flow into the music.
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