I hope December is treating you well so far. How goes that gratitude exercise? As you may have read, I wrote about how mindfulness is important in a previous post. Since meditation seems to be a scary word for many still (including myself to be honest), here is a Level up mini-challenge to exercise mindfulness in simple ways.
"Mindfulness is the awareness that arises by paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally."
— Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness is about being fully aware of what is around and inside us here and now, but without judging the situation. When we are mindful, we get out of our own mind and make the effort to see things as they are, without the filter of our own interpretations, assumptions or judgements.
That's why it is so hard, really, because our minds are always at work, we are always interpreting, assuming or judging. Even the most accomplished Zen master can't be mindful all the time, and that's not the objective. However, it is possible to train the mind to improve our capacity to be in the moment.
Level Up Mini-ChallengeHere are two little mindfulness mini-challenges for you, if you are interested in starting your habit in a simple way, when a proper meditation habit is too hard to start with.
One - Mindful Breathing
- Identify a moment in the day where you stay idle for a while (commuting for example)
- Every day during that moment, take two minutes to focus on your breath
- Notice the air coming in and out of your nose, your chest rise and fall
- No need to close your eyes or anything, you can do it anywhere
- Examples of time to do this: under the shower, while queuing at the supermarket, while commuting, in bed just before going to sleep
Do this exercice two minutes a day for a month. This takes no extra time in your day and constitutes an efficient exercise for mindfulness.
Two - Mindful Daily Task
- Identify a daily chore or task that is part of your life (e.g. dish washing)
- Every day for a week, do this chore mindfully
- For example, feel the warmth of the water on your skin, touch the dishes and notice how different they feel under your finger depending on the fabric, listen to the water fall on the sink
- The idea is to be non-judgemental, feel your senses and if you have thoughts about how boring it is, notice them and let them go without judging them either
- Examples of daily tasks/chores: dish washing, cooking, brushing teeth, showering, making the bed, feeding the domestic animals or watering the plants...
Again, this exercice should take no extra time as you are using a task already in your schedule. Try it intentionally for a week and see how it makes you feel...
As I felt unable to liberate some time daily for meditation, I started doing these little exercises instead, and it helps improving the brain's capacity for mindfulness. I catch myself noticing more details in my daily life, or looking upon an event without automatically jumping to conclusions. And I know I am still a beginner, so how can the world view change when mindfulness becomes a daily habit?
I hope this Level Up Mini-Challenge will inspire you, please do let me know if you'll try and how it works for you...