by Sylvia Reistma
Extending mindfulness meditation to mindfulness in every day life.
A useful measure of mindfulness is in how we use it in life, from week to week, day to day, and moment to moment.
Sometimes, when we are dealing with a challenge, we find ourselves bracing ourselves and adding a lot of tension to our bodies as well as our minds. Mindfulness can be about learning how to work and just be with this tension so that it won’t end up destroying the quality of our lives.
When we practice mindfulness meditation regularly, many notice themselves becoming:
More open hearted, even in the face of life’s challenges. more self compassionate and accepting.
more accepting of others.
more balanced and more optimistic.
Here are some simple pointers on how you can bring mindfulness into your everyday:
When you wake up, take some time before you get out of bed to acknowledge to yourself that this is a new day full of new opportunities. Focus on your breathing for a few minutes and tune into your whole body lying in your bed breathing. Stretch yourself (think of how a cat can stretch itself so thoroughly). Then get up mindfully realising that you could spend this day being present moment by moment by moment. Try and do all your morning preparations with mindfulness. If you live with others, be aware of your tonal quality when you greet them and how you are with them. (Know that this can affect the rest of our day with them. A gruff grump sets a very different quality to the breakfast mood than a cheery good morning). Really notice what you are eating and drinking for breakfast. Taste them.
Be as present as possible in your day. Try and do one thing at a time rather than many. (Notice how much more relaxing it is to focus on one task at a time rather than multiple tasks).
Take care of yourself during each day. Listen to your needs and stop when you need to. Make sure you take a lunch break (many people don’t!). Drink water.
Be kind to yourself and speak to yourself with kindness. If you make a mistake, let yourself off the hook. Expand this kindness to others.
Work on gratitude in each day and each moment. The difference that this makes is really incredible. How many of you have noticed the difference of how the day feels when you first go out to your car in the morning and take 10 seconds to notice the day. Hearing a bird, noticing clouds in the sky, enjoying the freshness of the air against your face and feeling grateful for all this beauty in nature. COMPARE THIS TO: going out the front door!car!work and not noticing what surrounds you (Instead you might just be thinking of what you have to do when you get there! and certainly not in touch with feeling any gratitude).
Practice a mindfulness meditation (just 5 to 10 minutes will do),and mindfulness every day – your whole life may be changed if you do.
Remember to breathe!