Cultivate everyday mindfulness for stress reduction

Curious about mindfulness and eager to try some mindfulness practices?

Easy way to practice everyday mindfulness for stress reduction is to engage into informal mindfulness activities.

These are the everyday activities of life that can support the cultivation of mindfulness. 

Choose one or two activities you do routinely and bring your attention to them. 

Here are some examples of how to cultivate mindfulness in a busy life:

  • Every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement...even your breathing. Be totally present.
  • When you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sensory perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap and so on.
  •  When you get into your car, after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath. Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence, you are walking mindfully.

Mindful walking 

Traditional walking meditations are done at a very slow pace. 

However, this meditation should be done at whatever pace the situation calls for, whether you are walking your dog, walking to your car, walking while shopping or even running to catch a plane or jogging.

As you are walking, become aware of your breath. Then bring your attention down to your feet. 

Feel your feet step onto the ground. Can you feel the heel touch the ground first, followed by the midsection of the foot, finally feeling the ball of the foot as it pushes off to take the next step? 

Become aware of the rest of your body. Is there any tightness, tension, pain? Are you relaxed? Can you feel your inner body, the aliveness inside? 

Are you noticing any sounds—traffic, voices and birds? Can you feel the breeze or wind on your face and skin? Does it feel soft or harsh? Feel the temperature in the air, the warmth, the heat or the cold on your skin. 

Be aware of the things around you—trees, buildings, people, cars, bicycles. Notice any smells—scents from flowers, tree blossoms, or foods from restaurants, exhaust from the cars that pass by.

If you become lost in thoughts, the moment you notice it, just return your attention to the movement of your body, your breathing and the various sense perceptions. 

You may have walked this area a thousand times but never truly noticed what is there because you have not been fully present. Now, your walk becomes an opportunity to awaken into the present moment.

All of these activities are principles of good mindfulness practice:
  • Paying attention to the moment-to-moment details of experience.
  • Paying particular attention to the body and one's experience of it.
  • Recognizing the experience of mind and not getting caught in memories of the past or plans for the future.
  • Trying neither too much nor too little.
  • Letting go of distractions and paying attention to the present moment.
  • Noticing one's experience without judging it.  

Ready to explore more of mindfulness for happy living? 

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