In our fast paced and busy lives, practicing mindfulness can help to slow us down and clear our heads, however, it can be difficult to find the time or even to know where to begin to try to live mindfully everyday.
So this week, why not try these different mindful activities each day? By just focusing on each small task, you can easily achieve your goals and work towards living a more mindful life.
MONDAY - Appreciating the good
It’s easy to forget how much is good in our lives. From sharing a joke with friends, to enjoying the first cup of tea or coffee of the day, to appreciating our health (even if it is not as good as we would like), there are always some good things present, even in the darker times.
Name five things you appreciate in this moment. Friends, family, well-being, freedom from something difficult, an activity you enjoy, the scent of a flower, or the smell of newly baked bread… the taste of something delicious, a roof over your head, clean water to drink, a job well done…
TUESDAY - Random act of kindness
When we do an act of kindness for someone else, it makes us feel good. Of course, that should not be the motivation for the practice but it’s a nice perk!
Do a random act of kindness for a stranger or a person you know. It could be as simple as holding a door open for someone struggling with bags, helping someone with a task, giving up your seat on the train… Act without any expectation of a “reward.” What do you notice?
WEDNESDAY - How can I best take care of myself?
Many of us are better at taking care of others than ourselves. If we can deliberately integrate nourishing activities and choices into our day, we will be constantly nourishing ourselves. Small things can have a much bigger impact than you might think. Explore how you can nourish yourself physically and mentally.
Notice the choices you make and where you are placing your attention. Keep asking yourself, “How can I best take care of myself right now?” Go for a walk, phone a friend, or take a nap. Read a book, listen to music, plant some seeds…
THURSDAY - Create some space
We can fill our days with activities and things to do. When we are busy, we don’t have time to pay attention to how we are. If we can consciously create some unscheduled space, we have the opportunity for the unexpected to arise. If this feels uncomfortable at first, notice, acknowledge, and stay with it if you can.
Deliberately create some space in your day for you alone. It may be 5 minutes or 60 minutes. However long it is, leave it unplanned and respond to whatever arises in that period. Notice how it feels before, during, and after.
FRIDAY - What pushes your buttons today?
It might be someone cutting in front of you in traffic, a pressing deadline, or a feeling of being overwhelmed. It might be to do with someone else or perhaps it’s the eternal to-do list running through your mind. It may be one thing or a lot of things. Notice who, what, and when makes you feel stressed—there’s no need to worry about why.
Noticing what makes us stressed can help us to develop strategies to manage situations. There are always going to be things that are out of our control but simple changes in behavior can sometimes make a difference. Realizing how much we create our own stress empowers us to take action to reduce it.
SATURDAY - Technology detox
Give yourself a break and disconnect from your devices for an hour, half a day, or longer; no emails, no social media, no texting… How does that prospect feel? The more you resist, the more helpful it will be. Start with shorter periods and choose times when you will benefit from focusing on what you are doing, such as being with friends and family or doing a pleasurable activity.
Technology is there to support us but it is easy to fall into unhelpful patterns of how we use it. The healthier the relationship you have with your devices, the easier it will be to do this activity. If you find the practice difficult, you probably need to do it!
SUNDAY - Connecting to the earth
Periodically drop your attention to the soles of the feet. Notice the sense of contact. Notice the pressure and weight. Become aware of any warmth or coolness or other sensations. Imagine you are breathing in and out through the soles of the feet.
This is a simple way to shift attention from the head (where we may get caught up in unhelpful cycles of thinking) to the body and so ground ourselves with the earth beneath us. Practice this often, so that when things are tricky, you do the practice spontaneously.
You can try more mindful activities for the whole year, with Mindfulness on the Go by Anna Black.