no time for mindfulness practices?
Would you like to get the benefits that mindfulness can bring, but simply don’t have the time to practice regularly? Maybe you made a commitment to practice daily but now feel bad because you’ve been run off your feet all day and are too exhausted at night to do anything but slump in front of the TV. If this sounds familiar then maybe a different approach is needed. There are all sorts of ways you can introduce mindfulness into even the busiest of lives.
It’s about establishing new habits
When starting something new it can be tempting to try jumping in at the deep end, looking for maximum benefit as quickly as possible. Although this approach can be motivating for some, for others, a target of meditating for twenty or thirty minutes every day just isn’t realistic.
What you’re aiming for is simply establishing a new habit. For some, this might involve listening to a ten-minute guided meditation every morning. For others, it might just involve remembering to take a few mindful breaths at some point during the day. All that matters is that you’re somehow getting into a pattern of taking a pause every now and then, to experience a bit of non-judgmental present moment awareness. . Right now if one minute is all you can manage, then that’s just fine.
A brief pause
You might like to try taking a two to three-minute pause during the day. This is something you can do sitting, standing or walking. You might try it whilst waiting at the supermarket checkout or at the start of your lunchbreak. Available to do pretty well anywhere, it is a helpful way of grounding yourself in the moment.
With the eyes open or closed, simply ask yourself the question: what’s going on within the mind and body right now? Notice the emotions, energy levels and bodily sensations.
Take a few mindful breaths, perhaps with one hand placed on the belly and another over the heart area. Does this gesture feel helpful in this moment?
Finally, bring the attention to the feet on the ground and other points of contact between the body and your surroundings. Gradually allow the attention to return to whatever’s going on around you.
Mindfulness in daily life
There are all sorts of ways you can bring a bit of mindfulness into your day-to-day experience without having to set aside time for formal practice. Here are just a few ideas:
● Try placing coloured stickers onto objects such as the laptop/ hairbrush/ kitchen cupboard. Each time you notice the sticker it can be a reminder to fully engage with as many of the five senses as possible.
● Practice taking a couple of mindful breaths before talking.
● You might try doing a quick gratitude exercise whilst brushing your teeth at night. Can you think of three things that happened that day that you are grateful for?