09 December 2015

Level Up Mini-Challenge | Mindfulness


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-Challenge

Here 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...


  1. Thank you for this very helpful advice! I will be doing this and see how successful I've been in a month!

    1. I'm happy to hear that you'll try it out, I'd love to hear how it goes for you indeed :)

  2. I raise my hand and say: present! Meditation doesn't quite work for me, but I like to feel present and aware of my surroundings through my days. These two simple ideas sound wonderful to me, I will definitely keep them in mind. The "no need to close your eyes" made me smile, because but I can't focus on breathing without instinctively shutting them :)

    1. Perfect! I thought that might be a good mini-challenge for the people who struggle with meditation habits (as I do myself!)
      It's interesting that you automatically shut your eyes when focusing on your breathing. I noted that down in case people didn't want to close their eyes in the middle of the train or metro in the morning. These mindfulness exercises can really be done anywhere instead of" waiting" :) I'd love to hear how it goes for you if you try these!

  3. Lately I have tried to be In the moment, and have found it very rewarding.

  4. Sounds like you are turning into an artist...