Although the regular practice of a structured mindfulness-based meditation should be part of your daily routine when striving for optimal health, the act of being mindful ought to become a way of living in your day-to-day activities as well.
The goal is to become more aware and present in each and every moment of your life. When we do so, then living becomes a richer and more satisfying experience, where even mundane activities can add to the fullness of life. As Jon Kabat-Zinn explains in Full Catastrophe Living, “bringing mindfulness to any activity transforms it into a kind of meditation.”
Then the byproducts of meditation, such as less stress, tension, and frustration, and more inner peace, calmness, relaxation, peace of mind, euphoria, and connectedness, can enhance our lives and our mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Be intimate with whatever presents itself from moment-to-moment in your life. Approach these moments with kindness and compassion and a curious and nonjudgmental attitude. Regardless of whether you are feeling anger, sadness, pain, depression, anxiety, frustration, etc., or bliss, joy, happiness, or contentment.
Here are some ideas to get you started on your journey to living more mindfully on a daily basis.
1. Washing the dishes
How do the water and soap feel against your hands? Look at the intricate details of the soap bubbles or the shininess of the plate when its clean. Or focus on the movement of your hands ór any sounds that may be occurring.
2. Lying in stillness and silence
How do silence and stillness sound and feel? Be aware of the nothingness. Tune everything else out and connect with the silence and stillness.
3. While having a conversation
Pay attention and be completely present with the person you are talking to. Hear what they say and don’t say. What qualities are present in their voice or emotions they are expressing?
4. Brushing and flossing your teeth
Notice the feel of the toothbrush, floss, paste, and water on your teeth, gums, and tongue. What tastes and sensations are you experiencing? Be with each movement of your hand.
5. Combing or brushing your hair
Be aware of any sensations you experience on your head and scalp, as well as other sensations that you may experience in other areas of your body that are often generated with touching of the hair.
6. Taking a bath
How does the water feel on your skin? Notice the temperature of the water. Be with the water.
7. During a massage
Notice any sensations you have from their touch. Feel where your body makes contact with the massage table. Let go and allow the table to support you completely.
8. While holding hands with your partner or child
Feel your grip against their hand and their grip against yours. Notice any sensations or emotions you experience. Appreciate the emotional bond you can feel between the two of you.
9. When giving or receiving a hug
Notice the emotional and physical sensations. Be completely present with the other person. Feel where your body makes contact with their body.
10. Listening to music
Close your eyes and feel the music in your body. Flow internally with the beat. Follow every note.
11. Taking a shower
Notice how the water and soap feel on your skin. Appreciate the droplets of water. Watch it flow off your skin and down the drain.
12. Raking the leaves
Notice the different colors and shapes of the leaves. Go into the raking experience, let your body flow with each movement. Be present with the sounds.
13. Pulling weeds
Notice the resistance of the plant to let go of the earth. The smells released during the action. Experience the sense of satisfaction after you’re done.
14. Mowing the lawn
Be present with each step you take during the process. Feel your muscles stretching. Notice the smells generated. Appreciate the sun and the wind against your skin.
Be fully present with each planting or pruning. Appreciate each stage of growth. Connect with the plants when you touch them.
16. While dancing
Feel of the music in your body. Be present with your body’s movements and the music within your body.
17. Petting the dog, cat, or other pet
Notice where your hand makes contact with their body. Appreciate their magnificence and uniqueness. Be present with the physical and emotional sensations that are generated.
18. Looking into your pet’s eyes
Look deep into their eyes and connect with the essence of their being. Just sit and appreciate that connection. Marvel at who they are and how much they have to offer. Feel the oxytocin release as you are overtaken with the warm fuzzies.
19. Sweeping the floor
Flow with your muscles and bones as you make the sweeping action. Listen to the sounds created. Be present with each movement.
Feel where your hand makes contact with the surface of the objects you are dusting. Watch the movement of your hand and the disappearance of the dust. Appreciate how it looks when it’s clean.
21. Making the bed
Be present with each movement and sound. Notice the process. Appreciate the sense of satisfaction when it is complete.
22. Taking a walk
Be aware of how the earth feels against your feet. Take note of the sounds your feet make when they hit the earth. Be fully present with each step. Appreciate the feel of the elements against your face. Be aware of each plant, tree, bird, or other wildlife you come in contact with.
23. Walking the dog
Notice physical and emotional sensations during each part of the process, as you connect the dog to the leash, the beginning of the walk, during the walk, when letting them off the leash. Appreciate the look on their face as they walk and their curious nature. Take note of how the dog is present with each moment during the walk, and be present with them. A dog seems to be mindful without any effort.
24. Watching the sunset or sunrise
Take in the colors, the ambience, the light or lack of, and how things change through the process. Go into the experience and be one with it. Think about the awesomeness of the Universe.
25. Looking at the moon
Look at the circumference of the moon and take note of crevices and bumps on its surface. Connect with it emotionally and be one. Contemplate how vast the Universe is and how much is unknown.
26. Typing on your computer
Notice how your fingers feel hitting the keys and the sounds they make. Get absorbed in the flow of movement as your fingers type. Be awed at how the words appear on your screen.
27. Walking from one room to another
Just be present in your body and the movement of your feet as you walk.
28. Cooking a meal
Be present and notice sensations and sounds as you cut, slice, dice, or peel. Be present in your body as you move from one spot of the kitchen to another. Take note of the colors and smells of your food.
29. Eating a meal
Take each bite with awareness. Feel the textures of the food on your lips and in your mouth. Engage all your senses as you eat and experience them fully. Savor every morsel.
Be present with each movement of your arms and legs as you pick out your items and put them in your cart. Feel the cart handle in your hands and pay attention to your steps as you move around the store. Notice the lighting, sounds, ambience, and smells.
Feel your hands against the steering wheel. Be present with each movement and action. How does the seat feel against your buttocks and back? What is the temperature and its impact on your body? Notice how many things you are paying attention to at one time and how it happens automatically.
32. Feeling the sun or wind on your skin
Zero in on the area where the sun or wind meets your skin and feel it completely. Close your eyes and flow into it. Feel it caress you and wash over your body.
33. Listening to a bird singing a song
Notice and appreciate all the different qualities of the sound. Follow and go into the sound. Stand in awe of the bird’s ability to make these sounds and its uniqueness as a living creature. Ponder on what the sounds mean and what is going on in its head at this time.
34. Hearing a cricket or locust chirping
Experience the sound in your body. Admire its unique qualities and reflect on how the creature has the ability to make these sounds. Is it close or further away, and how does distance affect the sound?
35. Looking at a blade of grass, or a leaf on a plant or tree
Touch it and be aware of its textures and any sensations you experience. Look deeply at its structure and color and pay attention to the fine detail. Be awed by the magnificence intelligence that is inherent in nature.
36. Admiring a flower
Delight in the colors and shapes that are unique to this particular flower. Don’t just look at it, but join together with it. Admire the intricate detail. Is it small or large? Long or short stem? What are the qualities of the petal? How does it smell and what kind of sensations do you experience when you take its fragrance into your nostrils?
37. Being in your body
Just be fully present with your body. Go into yourself and around the outside surface of yourself. What does it feel like to be you? Experience the sensations that are present.
38. The clock ticking
Go into the sound and be present with each tick. Don’t just hear it, but feel it. Let the sound flow through you.
39. Looking at your child or significant other as they sleep
Feel the depth of your love for them completely. Appreciate them for the being that they are and their presence in your life. Admire the characteristics of their face that make them unique. Listen to the sounds of their breath in their nose and mouth and note movements in their body. Connect with their presence.
40. The sound of tree leaves rustling in the wind
Stand still and tune into nothing but the rustling sound. Close your eyes, connect with it and be one. Feel the rustling within your body. Notice the different qualities of sound and how they change with the speed of the wind.
41. Observing clouds in the sky
Zoom in on a particular cloud or a part of the cloud. Look deep into it. Take note of its shape and how that shape feels. Is it fluffy and soft, pointy or wispy, thick and dense, light and see-through, or wide and frolicking? Connect with it and feel its textures. Go inside it. Move from one to another and take it all in.
42. Your feet as they touch the earth when you walk
Feel the earth beneath you and notice its qualities. Is the earth soft or firm? Be present with your feet and legs in each movement and every time they make contact with the earth. What sounds do you hear?
43. The smell after it rains or while a hamburger is cooking
Take a very deep breath in through the nose and be aware of sensations in your nostrils as you do. Close your eyes and experience the smell throughout your body.
44. Watching a storm move in
Watch the storm clouds develop, as if they arise out of nowhere. What are the colors and shapes and movement? Feel the changes in the air as the storm gets closer and how it can be felt in the brain and mood. Feel the intensity when it arrives.
45. Observing a bunny nibbling on grass in the yard or a squirrel collecting your bird seed
Feel the warm fuzzies throughout your body as oxytocin is released in your brain. Notice the involuntary smile that comes across your face.
46. Watching birds at your bird feeder
Admire their colors, textures, shapes, and unique behaviors. Listen to their sounds. Note how they interact alone and with others.
47. Touching someone or being touched
Feel the exact spot where your body makes contact with their touch. Experience the emotional and physical sensations completely. What is it like?
48. While texting
Feel your fingers against the keyboard, watch the letters appear. Be astonished by the technology.
49. Listening to the rain
Pinpoint the individual raindrops with your brain and really hear them. Notice the changes in speed. Feel the intensity of a rapid downfall. Notice how the change in atmosphere affects your body and mind. What kind of emotions are elicited?
50. When doing nothing
Experience the nothingness in its entirety. Just be. What does it feel like? What sensations and emotions arise? What is nothingness?
As you can see, any activity can be done in a mindful manner. As you practice it more frequently, then eventually it becomes a way of being that occurs naturally with less effort, rather than a technique that you put into action. However, at first, it requires a concerted effort on your part to build the habit. So begin by consciously bringing mindfulness to as many activities as you can throughout your days. You can learn more about how to use mindfulness to enhance your health and quality of life in my instantly downloadable ebook and put it into action within minutes.
Feel free to add to my list of ideas by leaving your thoughts on how you put mindfulness into action in your life in the comment section below if you like.