Each and every day we have many opportunities to practice mindfulness.
Here is a list of ways to practice mindfulness. Choose one to practice for a day or a week and give it your wholehearted attention.
1. When you wake up in the morning, notice your breathing before you get out of bed. The quality of our breath tells us a lot about our state of being. When the breath is slow and steady we are calm and peaceful. When the breath is constricted we are tense.
2. Before you get out of bed, notice your thoughts. What was your first thought upon waking? This practice helps us get in touch with what is on the mind and in our dreams
3. When possible, eat silently. Before you eat, consider all the people involved in providing the food on your plate – farmers, truck drivers, people in supermarkets. Offer gratitude for all these people.
4. Notice your environment: sunlight, rain, the wind, trees, sights and sounds. On your way to work, school, an appointment or your daily errands, be mindful of driving your car, walking, sitting on the subway, arriving at your destination, your state of mind and your thoughts. Are you in the present moment or thinking ahead to what you will be doing next? Notice your body, and let your breathing help you relax your shoulders, soften your face.
5. Notice when you can stop the pressure of pushing to get where you are going and simply enjoy the process of getting there.
6. Practice mindful, conscious breathing throughout your day: at work, while sitting down, at your desk, at your computer, while speaking on the phone and in person.
7. Allow yourself to be calm and peaceful. Use daily cues as reminders to be mindful: the doorbell, the telephone, a mindfulness bell on your computer, turning on a light, checking your watch or a clock for the time.
8. Approach meals with mindfulness and gratitude. Really taste what you are eating.
9. As you leave your daily activities, take a moment to appreciate what you have accomplished and consider how you have interacted with others. Wash your speech kind, helpful and appropriate to the situation?
10. Consider your trip home as a transition time between your daily activities and your time at home.
11. Become aware of your breathing, smile, notice the quality of your thoughts and feelings.
12. Approach your homecoming and the people you come home to, with peacefulness and kindness.
13. You can use conscious breathing – awareness of the breath – as a foundation to encourage mindfulness in all of your daily activities, just as you use it as the foundation for your sitting and walking meditation practices.
14. Eat meals without doing anything else. Eat them sitting down, rather than standing up or in your car or on the run. Taste every morsel of food and enjoy the aroma and texture of your food.
15. As you go to bed and prepare for sleep, breathe, become aware of your body and relax, and let go of daily activities and of your anticipation of tomorrow.
Wishing you the gift of mindfulness each and every day.