90-Day A Better Me Series
Part III: Living the Journey
Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives
Day 63: Practicing Mindfulness
“The spirit in which you do something is often as important as the act itself.”
-Mark Williams and Danny Penman, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, pg. 114
In preparation for today, I pulled out my copy of Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic Worldby Mark Williams and Danny Penman. I haven’t touched this book since I read it in school. I opened the book to the page above and read the quote. The energy we put into whatever we are doing affects us. It also affects the energy of the situation we are going into. Then our energy moves with us coming out of the moment and moves into the next. Mindfulness helps us to be conscious of what we are bringing in and what we are taking out of any situation.
Now, there are tons of books, articles, YouTube videos, seminars, and practitioners who teach mindfulness techniques. We are just scratching the surface with today’s topic. My hope is that you will take the seed and find ways to make it grow into something amazing in your life. Mindfulness is an essential step in the path to inner peace.
Today, I’m focusing on mindfulness practices you can do as a part of your daily life. The more we can stay in the moment we are in, the more we will be able to come in and out of situations while staying conscious and in-tune with what is going on inside and around us.
We do many things operating in autopilot, which is like fast-forwarding life. Our minds aren’t where we are. We open ourselves up to being hurt physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually by moving too fast for our feet. Slowing down to be where are feet are is a way we can practice mindfulness. I will give examples of exercises throughout the day to help you add more mindfulness practices to your life. Like I said, these are just a jumping off point. Let these exercises be the spark for more.
Morning Mindfulness Practices
- The moment you wake-up, take a deep long breath in through your nose for ten seconds. Hold your breath for three seconds. Then release the breath for ten seconds. Do this three times. Make sure you are counting the seconds. This will help you from getting distracted by those thoughts waiting to come in.
- When you get out of bed, feel the sensations running through your body. Enjoy the feeling of a stretch as you get out of bed. What does that feel like? Take your time to greet the day. If your mind starts going into your to-do list, slow down and just focus on connecting to the way your body feels after being in a resting state.
- While you are in the shower, focus your energy on what the water feels like as it touches your skin. Feel the pressure of the water and when you are lather up the soap and putting it on your head, enjoy the sensations of the head message. I like to use shampoo and conditioner with mint in it because it makes the sensations very apparent. That is my reminder to stay in the moment. Make sure you like what your products smell like. It will help you want to connect to the moment.
- As you get dressed, pay attention to the way you put each item of clothing on your body. What arm do you put your shirt in first? Do you put the shirt over your head before you put your arms in? What foot goes in your underwear first? What shoe do you put on first? What does it feel like as you move to get ready?
- While you are drinking your morning beverage, take your time with each sip that goes into your mouth. Smell the beverage as it goes under your nose. Feel the fluid move around your mouth, to the back of your throat, and through the swallowing process. Be conscious of all the sensations.
- Take time to savor your breakfast. Before the food even touches your mouth—Smell it. Enjoy the different smells as they interact together. Then feel how the utensils you have to use feel against your hands. Pay attention to the way your body moves to get the food to your mouth. Then as you put the food in your mouth take time to chew it and feel the sensations as the food sits on your taste buds.
Stay away from your distracting electronics!
- While walking outside, look around to take notice of your surroundings. Pay close attention to what is on your path. Look up and see what is around you. Pay attention to nature as you walk. Be right where you are. Enjoy the moment you are in. Acknowledge the life that is around you. If a person walks by, look them in the eye and greet them. If you see an animal, watch them as they watch you.
- If you are riding bikes, motorcycles, golf carts, etc., feel the sensation of the breeze. Pay attention to how your legs and arms feel. Feel your heart pumping. Keep focused on whatever you are seeing, smelling, feeling, hearing, and if applicable tasting. Use every sense you can.
- In the car, pay attention to what you hear inside and outside of the car. What does the seat feel like against your skin? What does your foot feel like as you touch the gas and/or brake? What is going through you if someone cuts you off? Did you give yourself enough space? Are you letting another person’s energy affect yours while you are driving? What is keeping you present driving? What is distracting? What does the weather look like? How is the weather affecting the sensations you are feeling in the car?
- You get a lot of opportunities if you are in a train, taxi, subway, Uber, Lyft, etc. Take it all in! Use all your senses to stay in the moment and be aware of everything you are seeing outside of you and feeling inside of you. Take the time to look around and see the nature around you. Pay attention to the buildings, sidewalks, people, cars, etc. See if you can get through the whole ride being in the moment. Even if that moment is talking to others, be with them in the conversation. Pay attention to their voices, body language, words, and practice active listening.
- At work, practice using all your senses to get you from one point in the day to the next. If you use a computer and your mind starts getting overwhelmed. Pay attention to what your fingers feel like on the keys. If you are constantly interacting with people make sure to take deep breaths and be in the conversation with them. Listen, many times people are telling us important details that we miss if we are thinking about what we are going to say or trying to find ways to end the conversation. You can find mindfulness anytime you engage your senses.
- Shopping is a fun way to explore your mindfulness. Use your senses as you go through the store. Look up and smile at individuals. Enjoy the experience of smelling, tastings, hearing, seeing, and feeling. Be conscious of what you feel inside as you interact with people and/or things. Acknowledge to yourself what you are feeling. If you don’t like the way you feel, ask yourself what are other feelings you could feel by interpreting the situation differently. Give yourself space to explore other perspectives. If you have a thought that feels better, sit with it for a few seconds. Notice that shift as you move into the next moment.
- When you going to the bathroom, slow down! Enjoy this break from all the doing and just enjoy the being. Take this time to practice breathing slowly. Bathrooms can be a very peaceful place if we take advantage of the space to just breath and do what our body needs us to do to release what doesn’t belong there anymore.
- As you’re cooking or being cooked for, smell, taste, touch, and look at each item you are putting into your dish. Pay close attention to the colors, texture, and sensations that move through you as you clean, cut, chop, drop, each item into the master plan. If you are at a restaurant, pay attention to each bite of food.
- When you are washing dishes feel the water running over your hands. Feel the softness of the soapy bubbles touching your skin. Listen to the noise of the water moving and the dishes clanging. See the how each item comes in and out of your path.
- Writing in a gratitude journal is a practice in appreciating your mindfulness throughout the day. As we are more mindful throughout the day we appreciate each of our moments in a fuller way. We begin projecting, manifesting, and attracting abundance by hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling more consciously throughout our day. We become more mindful of our interactions with others as we write about our experiences through the context of gratitude.
- Put on your nightwear being fully conscious of every decision you are making. Just like putting your clothes on in the morning, be conscious of what limb is going where. Pay attention to your motions and the inner sensations as each item touches your skin.
- Turn off all electronics and just sit, listen, feel, smell, and breath. Give yourself time to actively release your day before you shut your eyes.
Mindfulness is a practice. The more we practice, the better we get. Be patient with yourself. The people who feel our lack of mindfulness most are the people we are closest to. We not only serve ourselves with our mindfulness, we serve all the lives we touch.
Peace on the inside will create peace on the outside. We will benefit from our mindfulness practices as we proceed with the rest of Part III.
With Love and Gratitude,
Rachael Wolff ©2019