•Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a separate part of daily life.
•Walking, cleaning and eating can be done mindfully.
•Mindfulness can enhance daily activities.
Mindfulness practices such as breathing exercises, yoga, a mindful body scan and meditation are helpful ways to create a fuller present life experience. Daily life experiences can be mindful as well. If there isn’t time enough in the day to set aside for a yoga class, a daily activity like cleaning dishes after dinner can serve well.
In adding mindfulness to a daily activity, the aim is same as in meditation or yoga. The starting point is to fully observe and notice everything in this moment. You slow down the activity. You fully explore this experience. You do that by engaging all your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and feel? What are your thoughts, feelings and body sensations in this activity? Can you notice everything and allow it to be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral and just be?
Walking is a good activity for mindfulness. Being outside and fully present for even as little as 5 minutes has been shown to have positive health benefits. Also, this exercise can help with anxiety and depression. Before taking a mindful walk, you can give yourself a goal such as noticing a certain kind of tree or building. While walking pay attention to your breathing. Notice how your body moves, how you swing your arms and how you step. Are you holding tension in your upper body or legs? Fully commit all of yourself to the present in this walk.
Mindful eating engages all our senses in a present activity. Take a chip or a piece of fruit or candy. First really look at it. What do you see? Now smell it, what does it add to the experience? Do you hear anything as you unwrap or prepare to put it in your mouth? Put it in your mouth but don’t it eat or bite it yet. Notice the texture. How does it feel in your mouth? Do you notice changes in your mouth? Is there a taste? Now eat it and notice perhaps even more.
Cleaning is often therapeutic for people. Most cleaning tasks require a unification of mind and body to achieve an identified goal. This can be enhanced and better performed by adding mindfulness. Cleaning can calm and focus you. When washing a dish, notice what you see and feel. Can you smell the detergent? Can you hear running water? Whether cleaning a dish or the bathtub, sweeping or vacuuming a floor, you can fully engage your senses and align your thoughts, emotions and body in a unified present moment activity.
Taking a photo on your smartphone is a great example of a mindfulness exercise. Smartphone cameras allow us to snap a photo of something unplanned or unexpected we just happen to notice. To take a good photo-- and what is the point of taking a bad photo--you need to identify the subject, set the focus, pay attention to the light, pay attention to holding the camera and your breath and then snap a photo or two. Nearly everything required to snap a picture on your phone of something that captures or inspires you requires you to be fully in the present moment and mindful.
In addition to those activities discussed above, there are many other daily activities such as cooking, showering or exercising where you can add mindfulness to enrich and expand the activity.