The regular practice of mindfulness has many positive effects on our physical, mental and spiritual health. It is one of the most powerful self-care tools we can use to relieve stress, alleviate pain, decrease anxiety, improve mood, sleep better, increase inner peace and awareness, and promote a richer, more meaningful and fulfilling life overall. That is why I believe, finding more ways to be mindful in your daily should be a primary component of all self-care plans.
This simple strategy, when used in conjunction with proper diet and lifestyle changes, has been a vital tool for me to manage stress and maintain recovery from disabling anxiety attacks, depression, compulsive overeating, and addiction to many substances for more than three decades and it is a main component of my coaching program.
The “secret” to becoming more mindful is to simply bring your full attention to every activity throughout your day and be fully present. No matter what that activity is. Unfortunately, many people go throughout their day without really being present in anything.
Here are a few examples to get you started.
1. Communing with Nature
Just sit in your backyard or a park and focus your complete concentration on the sky, clouds, sunset, or trees. Don’t just look at them; go into them. Feel them completely. Sink into them.
Be completely absorbed and one with nature. This can be accomplished as well by looking out a window if getting outside isn’t always possible.
Apply the same principle to the cooing of a dove, the song of a cricket, call of a frog, the sun against your skin, the petals of a flower or plant, a rock in your hand, etc. Allow yourself to be consumed and swept away by the experience.
I think the wind is incredibly spiritual and there are so many different ways to connect with it. One option is to listen to it rustle through the leaves on a tree. Travel with the wind. Be the leaves on the tree. Be one with the sound of the rustling leaves.
Another is to stand in the wind. Close your eyes. Be one with it as it blows across your body and through your hair. Be aware of how it feels against your face and skin, and as it travels through your hair. This can be really incredible if you are adventurous enough to try it in your birthday suit.
2. Taking a Walk
Walk by yourself and focus completely on the experience of the moment; the feel of the wind and sun on your body, the sound of your feet against the earth, the sounds of nature that surround you. Be one with nature, yourself and the movement of your body.
It is particularly lovely to walk across leaves in the fall and listen to them crunch. This is one of my favorite activities: I am like a little child who delights in the crunch beneath my feet.
3. Listening to Music
Try to think about nothing except the sounds of the music. Focus completely on each tone and move with them. Let the tones of the music pull you deeper inward.
Experience nothing but the sound of the music. Feel it. Hear it. Be the music.
The beauty of dance is that it combines music with movement, thus involving two senses in the process. Just turn on the music in your living room and dance around the room.
Use your body and the music as the focal point. Be one with your body through your movements. Tune everything else out except the movement of your body and the sound of the music. Become so absorbed in the experience that you become the dance and the music.
You can use any kind of music you like. Sometimes I dance to something like Enigma or Music to Disappear In, while other times I dance to something like Robert Plant or Alice in Chains. All music can be spiritual if it resonates for you.
Simply sit or lie down in complete silence. Use the silence as your focal point. Be aware of how still it is. How it sounds and feels.
Close your eyes or find an object in the room to fixate your eyes upon. Focus on nothing but the sound of stillness and nothingness.
Go inward and be still.
6. In the Shower or Bath
Close your eyes; listen to the water. Sink into it and become one. Experience the water completely against your skin as it hits you and flows away. Touch your wet velvety skin with your fingers and be with your hand as it moves.
7. When You Cook
Don’t just look at your food as you are preparing it; be with it and appreciate it. Focus on the act of preparation; its beautiful colors, shape, texture and versatility and any sounds it may make. Don’t think about the end product; enjoy the process.
8. At Bedtime
When you lie down in your bed and close your eyes, focus on how the mattress feels; soft, comforting, nurturing, warm. Cuddle up with your mattress. Let go and sink deep into it completely. Let your mattress hold you up. Give yourself to your mattress.
9. When You Eat
Slow down and actually experience your food and the process of eating. Look at your food and be present with each bite. Examine the flavor, smell, temperature, movement of your jaw and texture like a curious observer. Appreciate it. Savor the experience like you are making love for the first time.
10. Making Love
Speaking of making love, this is another area that is ripe for expanding our mindfulness activities. Savor your lover as if they are an expensive steak or fine wine. Be present and one with each touch, sensation, emotion, and movement. Focus on nothing but you and your partner in that moment and the connection you share.
11. With Loved Ones
When your children, friends, partner etc., talk to you, look them in the eyes and really listen. Stop and be present. Touch their hand or arm.
Watch them when they aren’t paying attention and be in awe of who they are; be grateful and appreciative for their presence in your life.
Allow yourself to completely feel all your emotions, even the undesirable ones. Our first response to uncomfortable emotions is to resist them, but if you embrace them instead, you actually decrease their impact and allow them to dissipate. Experience the joy and the sadness and pain in your life to its fullest extent.
These are just some of the ways that you can become more mindful. There really is no limit; just bring your full attention to each and every experience in your day. It’s an easy, practical, cost-free way to enrich your life and optimize your mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Now that you know how to be more mindful in your daily life, you can take it a step further and enhance your benefits even more with mindfulness-based meditation. In my audio course, The Breath Stream Technique, I teach one of my favorite techniques I have been using for decades to manage stress and anxiety, sleep better, and enhance my health and well-being.
In this course, you’ll learn how to use mindfulness and breathwork to conquer stress and anxiety, experience deep relaxation, sleep better, and elevate health and well-being without a big investment in time, so you can become more of who you want to be and live life more fully.
How about you, do you have any daily mindfulness activities that you’d like to share below?