5 Daily Mindfulness Practices:
A key to my sense of peace and well-being is consistent mindfulness practice. When I take moments each day to pause and connect to myself and the world around me, feeling the earth under my feet and noticing the sweet smile of a stranger, I feel more content and alive. When I make conscious choices in how I fuel my body I have more energy. When I pause and take a breath before engaging in a challenging interaction, the result is inevitably more peaceful. I remember to apply the practice and I forget. That is where I am on my path. As the prolific writer and Buddhist nun Pema Chodron states, “Start where you are”.
The suggestions below will sound simple and they are. It is remembering to apply mindfulness that can be difficult. Gentle daily reminders help us to stay on the path. Mindfulness can be applied to all aspects of our lives, you do not need to sit in a cave or meditate for hours on end to live a mindful life. Here are practices to help you cultivate mindfulness as you move through your day:
Sacred Morning Time: Life is busy and it is easy (and sometimes feels necessary) to jump into full throttle when you wake up. Whether you are charging into work mode, parent mode or the obligations you have ahead of you, take a few moments first just for yourself. This will set the tone for the rest of your day. The duration of time is up to you. If you can take an hour that is amazing but five minutes will do the trick! This is an opportunity for personal practice, for ritual, so let that be something that nourishes your soul. The practice can literally be anything: five minutes of reading, personal writing, a meditation, breath practice, yoga, drinking lemon water or sweeping the floor. It is about your focus and state of mind during the activity. Commit yourself to being fully present and sensually aware in whatever you chose to do. Establish a morning practice and make it consistent. A game changer!
Drink Lots of Water: So simple, I told you! Staying hydrated and aware of your hydration means that you are making time to check in with yourself and your state of well-being throughout the day. Consciously drinking water means that you are nourishing your body at its most basic level. You will have more energy and feel better. Drink that water from a refillable non-plastic water bottle? Even better!
Thank Your Food: Sound silly? Try it! Before you eat, take a moment to honour your food and where it came from. Acknowledge all of the time and energy required to get that food to your plate. Thank your food for fueling your body and giving you energy for the rest of the day. Notice all the beautiful colors and smells. A bag of Doritos after that reflection? Maybe not super appealing. Fresh organic fruits and veggies? What a gift!!
Express Appreciation, Love and Gratitude: This one is obvious and completely infectious! Acknowledge the people in your life. Tell them you love them and express gratitude in your relationships. Communicating your love and appreciation will only create more of the same high vibrations! This practice applies to all types of relationships in your life. The city-worker who takes your trash away week after week; give them a wave, a smile and thank-you. The co-worker with the consistently positive attitude; acknowledge that and thank them for the inspiration. The more specific your appreciation the better. The love and gratitude you feel for others and for the world around you is best when shared, expressed out loud and celebrated! Sharing your appreciation will only make you feel more connected in your relationships and community. Expressing your gratitude will make you immediately more present and aware of the love around you and accessible in every moment. Why wait?
Take a Reset: A “reset” is a moment of short pause to check in with your breath. You can take resets throughout your day. They are especially useful when switching tasks as a tool to stay present during the transition. This can be when you are in the shower, in the middle of your workday or as your ride the bus home. Pause and take a moment. Consciously take three breaths. Feel the sensation of a slow inhale breath through your nose and feel the sensation of an equally slow exhale breath through your nose. Notice the movement of breath in your body. This will pull your mind back into your body and back into the present moment. This tool can also be applied when you feel an elevation in anger or stress. A pause to take three conscious breaths will have a calming effect on your nervous system, it will shift your energy and ground you back into a place of connection and compassion.