|"Explore the original universe" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.|
I snagged these simple, eleven everyday mindfulness ideas from MindBodyGreen:
1. Listen to the music, while listening to music. (not a typo)
We often listen to music, but here's a way to do it mindfully. Even five minutes will assist your brain towards better neurochemical balance. Try to hear every instrument that's playing. Separate the lyrics from the melody. Try singing along, and feel your vocal cords vibrate with the hum of sound. The idea is to tease out all the separate bits of the experience, in order to be fully aware.
2. Drink tea. Or coffee. Or hot water.
We usually have a hot drink of some kind every morning. Instead of just drinking it while doing 16 other things, try drink it slowly. Dedicate 5 minutes every morning to this. Close your eyes, and feel the warm liquid roll over your tongue. Enjoy it – right now, this moment is all that matters!
3. Do yoga.
(If you have never done yoga, you are in for a treat! Take a look at the Ekhart Yoga collection on YouTube. I linked to her yin yoga exercises but there's lots more. Lots of 5-20 minute stretches and longer for specific results.) Yoga is a great way to practice mindfulness and presence in everyday life.
4. Turn the morning commute into practice time.
We spend a lot of time in our cars, why not use some of that time to practice. We could think of it as a little quiet time for ourselves. If the commute is by train or bus, try listening to mindfulness talks during that time.
5. Take a walk.
Make it a slow one. This can be hard, but try slowing it down into a slow motion activity. Inhale and lift your foot, exhale and plant it. Repeat. Here's a lovely explanation by Thich Nhat Hanh.
6. Create art.
The practice of art making can be very meditative. Set aside a bit of time for art, and while creating make sure to pay attention, creating a kind of dialogue between hands, eyes, and inner artist. A few minutes every day and you have a daily art practice.
For the writer, try Julia Cameron's "Morning Pages"! Great time to reconnect with our selves.
This is definitely one of my favorite activities. Cooking can be wonderfully meditative. Try grinding spices, chopping vegetables, and stirring the cooking pots with a smile. "Is food precious? Is food worth caring about? Are you precious? Are you worth caring about?" -Edward Espe Brown
This one can be done in the same way as listening to music. Try teasing out all the various parts of the experience. Take time to feel the temperature of your food with your fingers, feel the texture, smell all of the ingredients. Be there with your food before you eat.
10. Give or receive a massage.
Touch is a powerful experience. If you are giving a massage, try putting your whole being into this moment. Be there with the other: receptive, open, and loving. If you are receiving a massage, try the same thing. Be there now: receptive, open, and loving.
11. Breathe. The easiest of all! We are always breathing, why not try a little mindfulness while you breathe. It can truly is the difference between feeling anxious and feeling relaxed, between engaging the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Set aside 5 minutes, use a timer, try a few rounds of 4, 4, 8 count breath. (Inhale for 4 counts, retain for 4 counts, and exhale for 8. Close your eyes. Be slow. Repeat.) Check in at the end of this and see how you are feeling.
MMMMMmmmmm! How is your neurochemical balance doing?