5 Little-Known Ways to Practice Mindfulness
While having a formal mindfulness practice is great, there are so many other ways to practice mindfulness throughout your day. Try these 5 little-known ways to practice mindfulness and watch your day transform from hectic to peaceful in moments.
Believe it or not, you can make almost anything into a mindfulness activity.
Washing the Dishes
If you walked into a room of random people and asked everyone who likes washing dishes to raise their hand, you’d probably see few hands go up. Washing the dishes is equated with being a chore which makes sense because, well, it is a chore. Be that as it may, washing the dishes is also a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. Next time you’re staring blankly at a sink full of dirty cups and plates, take a breath before you dive in. Turn the faucet on and adjust the temperature until it feels just right. Consciously take note of the smells wafting from the soap. Feel the suds in your hand. What’s the texture of the sponge? Try to use all of your senses.
Listening to Music
Whether we’re in the car, grocery shopping, or even at home with music on, we’re usually hearing the music rather than listening to it. The difference between hearing and listening to music is mindfulness. One of the foundations of mindfulness is grounding yourself in the present moment and a great way to do this is to use your senses. Listening to music is the perfect way to tap into your hearing. Next time you hear a song, try paying attention to each beat, sound, and lyric with intention.
Driving is a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness, especially for those of us who commute to work or who otherwise spend long amounts of time driving. There’s a number of options for you to choose from when practicing mindful driving. You can pay attention to the feeling of your hands on the steering wheel, the temperature in the car, the sounds inside or outside your vehicle, and even just your own breathing as you make your way to where you’re going. The key is to be present while driving since this is, frighteningly enough, an activity many of us tend to do without paying much attention. If you’re feeling especially up for a challenge, try practicing mindfulness in standstill traffic!
Waiting in Line
People spend an estimated 5 years of their lives waiting in line for something. Whether it's for Christmas gifts, groceries, or your daily cup of coffee, waiting in line takes up a significant amount of time. Time waiting need not be time wasted. It’s natural to feel impatient while waiting for anything and it can often cause irritation and even put us in a sour mood for the rest of the day. The next time you find yourself getting antsy while waiting in line, simply notice your antsy-ness. Take note of your restless feelings or any other emotion you might be experiencing. After doing that, you can practice some conscious breathing, which slows down our heart rate and brings on feelings of calmness.
CookingCooking is a great way to tap into your sense of smell, taste, and touch. With our busy schedules, we sometimes have no other option but to whip a meal together on the fly. While that’s perfectly fine, you can still do so mindfully. Whether you’re making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a 3-course meal, pay attention to the sensations that arise within you as you spread, stir, boil, and chop. This will make mindful eating all the more enjoyable when the meal is complete.