Mindfulness is simple. Whenever our attention is in the present moment and we are both aware and non-judgemental of that moment, we are being mindful.
- If you are in the shower and you notice the temperature of the water and how it feels on your skin, you're being mindful.
- If you're eating your favourite meal and each time you take a bite, you're tasting it and you're focusing on it, you're being mindful.
- If you meaningfully inhale a scent and take the time to really notice it, you're being mindful.
- If you're lying in bed at night and you're listening to the sound of your breath, you're being mindful.
There are so many ways to practise mindfulness and it doesn't mean you need to sit cross-legged on the floor for twenty minutes with your hands on your heart while you take deep breaths and listen to the birds outside (although you can totally do that if you like!).
The beauty of mindfulness is that you can incorporate it into most activities in your life! You can be mindful while you hang out the washing or walk to the train station or listen to music or play with your kids. You can be mindful while you make your bed in the morning or brush your hair or pat your dog or drink a cup of tea. You can be mindful while you kiss your partner or write a grocery list or watch the sun set or bake lasagne.
For example, this morning, I was washing the dishes. Rather than thinking about my to-do list or being annoyed by the fact that I was washing the dishes instead of writing my new e-book, I noticed the feeling of the warm water on my hands.
I felt each dish, the shape and the texture, as I washed it.
I could hear my puppy snoring and the cars driving along my street.
Whenever my mind started to wander, I gently re-focused on the moment.
I noticed the smell of the dishwashing liquid.
I felt the ground underneath my feet.
I tuned into my breath every now and again.
In such a simple activity, there was a wealth of experience. Colour, texture, smells, noises, feelings, temperature. If I had allowed myself to zone out and think about something else, then I might not have noticed any of those things.
A mindfulness practice doesn't need be a grand gesture, in fact, it can be wonderfully simple and convenient.
It does take patience with yourself, forgiveness when your mind wanders and discipline when all you want to do is think about something else. Mindfulness may be simple, however it can be a little more difficult to actually put into practice regularly. If you would like to learn some practical exercises, feel free to check out my podcast here.