I’m sure you have all heard about Mindfulness. Perhaps you have even given it a go or already utilise mindfulness as part of your regular way of life.
Mindfulness is generally described as the process of deliberately paying attention to the present moment, and doing so with a sense of curiosity rather than judgement. Mindfulness can involve attending to our external experience (what is going on around us, such as what we can see and hear) as well as our internal experience (what is going on inside us, such as our thoughts and emotions).
The practice of mindfulness is becoming increasingly accepted as an important skill in improving our health and has been shown to foster emotional wellbeing and decrease psychological distress.
So if we know something is so good for us why can it be so hard to make practice more regular?
We know that lack of time and difficulty in setting aside a chunk of our day is one of the biggest barriers we face in developing our own mindfulness practice. It is hard to make time to sit down quietly and leave all our daily commitments and chores aside.
But did you know that you can practice mindfulness in a way that doesn’t take away from your other tasks? In fact, you can be mindful WHILE DOING your household chores and daily activities.
So lets take the task of brushing your teeth. For many people this is part of their regular morning and evening routine. Next time you brush your teeth try the following:
- Take a few seconds to really observe the process of squeezing out the toothpaste.
- Notice the colours and textures.
- Can you smell it already?
- Listen to the sound of running water.
- Notice the physical action required.
- Pay attention to the taste.
- Notice how the brushing feels across your teeth and gums.
- Can you really hear the different sounds you make while brushing?
- Notice if you have any urges to rush around and do other jobs while brushing.
- What thoughts are going through your mind while brushing? Instead of following those thoughts can you focus on your physical senses?
You might have noticed that this informal practice involves tuning into your senses (of sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell) as well as noticing our thoughts and emotions. Some other examples of when you might experiment with being mindful during daily activities include:
- Taking a shower
- Washing the dishes
- Waiting in a queue
- Sitting in the waiting room for an appointment
- Playing with your children
- Walking the dog
- Eating and drinking
Luoma, Hayes and Walser (2017) describe mindfulness processes as being “easy and difficult at the same time”. So go gently on yourself when you give this a go. And look out for those thoughts that say “I don’t have time for this”…
Mindfulness is something that we all use at Prosper Health Collective so feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to learn more about how this practice might be helpful for you. Or have a look on our website for further information.