Have You Ever Walked Into a Room and Forgotten Why? How To Start An Informal Mindfulness Practice
Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten what you were looking for? Have you ever done something and then not remembered if you already did it? Have you ever driven somewhere, but not remembered any details of how you got there? In the rush to accomplish everyday tasks, you may find yourself losing your connection with the present moment. Our minds get filled with chatter and our ability to be present is lost. Mindfulness can help us be more aware and focused in everyday moments. There is the formal practice of various meditations and practices. And there is also informal practice. Mindfulness is more than just a practice. It brings awareness and caring into everything we do, and it cuts down needless stress. Even a little makes our lives better. A less formal approach to mindfulness can also help you to stay in the present and fully participate in your life. Any moment can be a mindful moment. You can choose any task or moment to practice informal mindfulness, whether you are eating, showering, walking, turning on a light or a computer, playing with a child or grandchild, or anything that is a part of your daily routine. Here are some guidelines to get you started:
Stop whatever you are doing for a minute and bring attention to the sensations in your body.
Breathe in through your nose, allowing the air downward into your lower belly. Let your stomach expand fully.
Breathe out through your nose or mouth.
Notice the sensations of each inhalation and exhalation.
Proceed with the task at hand with an awareness of what you are doing, or you might even say to yourself what task you are doing ("I am brushing my teeth").
Engage your senses: notice the sights, sounds, smells, and touch.
When you notice that your mind has wandered from the task at hand, gently bring your attention back to the sensations in your body in the moment.
Be patient with yourself. Just as you wouldn’t expect to lift heavy weights when you start working out at the gym, your mind is a muscle, and mindfulness takes practice.