Mindfulness practice is not only about the 10 minutes you spend doing a meditation but also about being mindful while doing the other 10,000 things you do everyday which are equally important.
It’s this distinction between formal and non-formal practice that mean all the difference to your internal peace and happiness (not just the quick fix of a meditation).
Formal practice is what we all typically associate mindfulness with: Setting aside time to actively take time out and focus on just ‘being’. This can include meditating, stopping to take 10 deep breaths and checking in with your emotions when you feel that stress reaction.
Non-formal practice on the other hand revolves around your day-to-day life and engaging with your daily activities. Stop and ask yourself: ‘how present am I in daily life’? Do you find yourself going through your day on autopilot? Brushing your teeth while thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner tonight? Driving to a destination and not registering the actual drive? This is common. Your brain behaves this way to converse energy but it can also leave you feeling unfocused and distracted. Being mindful involves actively engaging in your daily activities. Simple things like eating your lunch and even having a shower.
A technique I love for nurturing my daily mindfulness practice is having meals without distractions. No phone, no TV, just sitting and enjoying my food with all my senses, it’s the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. This can also include your daily walk, rather than engaging with your phone, why not pay attention to your surroundings. What can you hear? What can you smell?
Here are some of my favourite tips to bring mindfulness to your daily life:
- Be mindful in conversation – what’s your body language saying? How’s your tone of voice? What is the other person doing?
- Be mindful in supermarket queues – it’s so easy to whip out your phone and jump on Facebook. Instead, check in with yourself. Take some deep breathes and relax your body.
- Be mindful when driving – stop driving on autopilot. It’s so easy to do but it can also be dangerous. Try to take in the environment around you and notice things you see along your drive.
- Be mindful around bedtime – turn off your phone and computer (avoid brining these in the bedroom!). Your body will thank you for the break from electronics and the opportunity to wind down properly.
- Be mindful with your self-talk – are you kind to yourself? Or do you criticize yourself throughout the day. Sometimes we are our own harshest critics.
- Be mindful when you drink your morning coffee or tea – savour that first sip in the morning it’s a great way to start your day.
What are your favourite ways to be mindful in day to day life?