If you weren’t yet aware, there are entire courses on mindfulness. Tons of books have been written about it in general and even more for applying it to specific areas of life. You wouldn’t even have to search hard to find a book on how to be mindful with everything from cleaning your house to how you eat and spend. I’ve read a few and even saw one on the shelf at the grocery store today!
Earlier this week, I discussed how to free your mind to help your mindfulness practice. If you haven’t yet, read that post here. It gives more details about what mindfulness is and how I’ve come to use it in my life. It won’t magically happen over night though…I still struggle.
My top ten SUPER! simple ways to practice mindfulness daily are:
- Drinking my coffee. I drink cold hazelnut coffee blended with vanilla almond milk. Every morning. Some days I rush and miss out on the flavor to just get my caffeine, but there are those other days where each sip is about the hazelnut and vanilla and nice, cool liquid. My coffee is best served mindfully!
- Riding the elevator at work. Yes, you read that correctly. I love to be the only one on the elevator either going up to my floor or on the way down. I ground my feet, lean against the wall for support (just in case…it’s an old elevator!), close my eyes and take deep, even breaths. Relaxing. Peaceful. Mindful. It’s just me and gravity and can be incredibly restorative in less than a minute.
- Dinner at the table with no distractions. This isn’t necessarily a daily occurrence, but it is POSSIBLE each day. And, by distractions, I mean electronic devices. We can’t see the TV from the dining table. I prefer phones to be put away while we’re eating together. I like to taste my food. I like to talk to my family. It’s pretty awesome when a plan comes together!
- Quiet car time. Any time of day, hanging out in my car for a few minutes with nothing going on is practically magical. I’m surrounded by noise most everywhere I go, so having quiet time in a quiet car is necessary to keep my sanity. It’s just a bonus if I have a nice view (there are great trees scattered throughout my day).
- Conversations with my kids. The most rewarding mindfulness practice you can do any day of the week is having an uninterrupted conversation with your kids. With eye contact and asking and answering questions and giving them your undivided attention. You don’t get the generic “nothing” to your questions when they know you’re there to listen to just them. I’ve learned some pretty awesome stuff by engaging my girls. And my 3 year old still calls me her “best friend”!
- Real thinking. As in, REALITY. Sometimes I get lost in the what if’s and worries. When I can get real about what’s going on, it gets easier to cope. AND I can start to see when I’m getting irrational. How do I get real? When I start stressing about something (or creating some situation that doesn’t actually exist), I think about what would REALLY be the worst possible thing that could happen IF IT WERE TRUE. Usually, I come to the conclusion that, yes, I’d be upset or mad or whatever, but life would still go on. I may not like the reality of a situation, but when I become aware that I ultimately can’t control it, real thinking is very peaceful. And then I get to continue on with my day!
- Washing my hands. Yes, really. Washing my hands can be an incredibly mindful experience. Focusing on the temperature of the water, the smell of the soap, the act of cleansing. It can be so relaxing! Plus, people don’t usually ask you a million questions if you look like you’re focusing on washing your hands!
- Brushing my hair. I brush my hair pretty often as it is, but making it a mindful activity helps keep me in touch with myself. And it’s soothing.
- Staring out of the window. I do this at work and at home. I don’t just stare blankly, of course. Wherever I am, I pick something that I find beautiful and just focus on it while breathing. Most of the time it’s the breeze moving the branches of the trees. Occasionally, it is a cloud formation. I’m never at a loss for a subject on which to direct my focus. This also helps relieve eye strain if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen every day. Focus on something in the distance to really relax your eyes.
- Putting hand cream on my hands/forearms. This is probably one of my favorite daily rituals. Not only do I love the scent of my present hand cream, but I love the way it goes on. I have a process. Rings off, sleeves up. Apply cream to hands and up to my elbows then go back and massage the palms of my hands and each finger individually. If I have time, I’ll massage my cuticles, stretch my hands (also good for lots of time at the computer because carpal tunnel syndrome is no joke!), and massage my forearms. This is mindfulness and relaxation and aromatherapy and self-care and a whole slew of other greatness all in one!
So, that’s my top 10 for mindfulness activities that are super simple and can be done on a daily basis. We spend so much time being distracted that it is nice to slow down and enjoy the simpler side of life. It also gets the kinks and cricks out to help us be better for ourselves and those we love.
You may be thinking, “Hey! I do that stuff already!” I’m sure you do. No doubt. But, what else are you doing while you’re doing the things on this list? Are you truly focusing all of your attention on the moment and the present action, or are you distracted, thinking about what you “should” be doing instead?
Think about it, and let me know.
What mindfulness activity will you try today?
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Mindfulness Series this week: Mindful Spending. It’s really nice to know where your money is going!!! Read Part 2 here.
Read Part 3 on Mindful Eating here.