- Jan 13, 2021
- 2 minutes
Mindfulness: 10 practical exercises you can do almost anywhere
Mindfulness is about being "in the now" and being aware of what is going on right here, right now. Nothing else. And the only way to become more mindful is to practice.
Here are some exercises you can do any time, with no special skills or preparation. The goal is simply to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions while you’re engaged in ordinary tasks.
1. Wash the dishes. Feel the water, feel and smell the soap. Look at the shine on the clean dishes. Just wash the dishes.
2. Eat. Whether it’s something healthy or not healthy or a sweet treat, enjoy every bite of it. Chew slowly and purposefully. Notice texture, warmth or cold, the flavor and smell.
3. Drive. Watch everything and everyone around you without judgment. Cars ahead, behind, and to the side. Feel the steering wheel, the gear shift, the seat. Look at trees, houses, grass, garbage at the side of the road.
4. Sit. Just sit. It doesn’t have to be meditation. You can be on a train, a plane, or in your living room. Just sit and breathe.
5. Walk. While walking, notice your breath, and how your body feels. Feel the air, the warmth or cold, the roughness or smoothness beneath your feet.
6. Run. Pay attention to your breath, the movement of air on your cheeks, the scenery that passes, the way the road or path feels to your feet. Notice smells and sounds.
7. Listen. Listen to someone. Instead of talking, pay attention to any thoughts that arise in response. Ignore them. Try to respond only to the speaker. Say “I hear you” or “I understand.” Ask questions, and resist the temptation to voice judgments or give advice or tell your own story in response.
8. Relax. Forget about magazines or newspapers. You can dream about something if you want.
9. Sing. Play your favorite music and sing along. Or make up your own tune. Involve every part of yourself in it. Sing it, hear it, feel it.
10. Pray. If you don’t pray, substitute affirmations or positive self-talk. Recite a poem that you like, or express your goals out loud. Listen to yourself. Hear your voice. Smile. Breathe.
During any activity, we can practice mindfulness. We can be aware. We can be "in the now".
If we are mindful, we will see that we have options. The key thing to remember is that you are not your thoughts and you are not your emotional responses. Thoughts and emotions are not you, they are not your inner essence, and they do not have to control you. You can contemplate thoughts and emotions and reactions and observe them during any activity. This is part of what develops mindfulness.