Practising Mindfulness in Everyday Life
It’s easy to live our lives on autopilot, going through the motions without ever being fully present in our experiences.
We can find ourselves always waiting for what’s next and never fully appreciating the here and now. For example, we may find ourselves always waiting for our meeting to be over or waiting for the end of the day. When we are not living fully in the present, we miss the magic in the simple moments. If we do this for long enough, we miss our entire lives. After all, life is made up of moments.
When we think of mindfulness, we often think of yoga or meditation. While these can be wonderful ways of incorporating mindfulness into our lives, we can also be mindful in the simple moments.
First Thing in the Morning
When we are mindful, we purposefully ‘tune in’ to the present moment. Take some time when you first wake up to notice your surroundings, along with the infinite potential that your day holds. Notice the softness of your sheets, the sun shining through your window or the gentle patter of raindrops on your windowsill.
Commuting to Work
Notice the colour and smell of the flowers, the crunch of newly fallen snow under your feet or the way your boots splash in the puddles as you walk. If you drive or take transit, notice how the steering wheel feels in your hands or the shape of the clouds in the sky.
Meals are a prime time to practice mindfulness. There are numerous benefits to mindful eating, so take a moment to truly savour the colour, texture and flavour of your food.
When you’re speaking with someone, instead of being focused on how you’re going to respond or the meeting you need to be at in five minutes, really focus on what the other person is saying. What emotions are being conveyed, what is their body language telling you?
Doing the Dishes
Some people say they find doing the dishes to be therapeutic, and it really can be! When you’re cleaning up after dinner, notice how the warm water feels on your hands and the gentle scent of the soap bubbles.
These are just some examples of how we can incorporate mindfulness into our everyday lives. None of the above may be particularly extraordinary in and of themselves, but through mindfulness ordinary moments can begin to feel purposeful and special - as opposed to only “exciting” or “extraordinary” events being meaningful.