Step 1: Learn About It

Step 2: Put it into Practice

Practicing mindfulness helps you avoid being on autopilot and instead act with purpose. It enables you to take intentional action, instead of simply reacting. You train your mind to pay attention, on purpose, to the present moment, without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can help you to be less likely to get caught up in the worries about the future or regrets over the past.

Meditation is not the only way to practice mindfulness, you can also practice on a daily basis using some of the ideas below.

  • During routine activities. Focus your attention on daily activities such as brushing your teeth, putting on your shoes, or washing the dishes. Instead of doing these activities on autopilot, pay more attention. You may want to just hurry up and finish these types of routine activities, but research shows you are better off if you do the dishes and think about doing the dishes, than if you do the dishes and think about going to the beach. This confirms what many have said for years: you experience your greatest joy when you are present and attentive. Happiness is here and now.
  • Before going to sleep at night. Bring your attention to your breathing. Observe five mindful breaths.
  • Whenever you’re waiting. While it might seem like a nuisance, waiting is actually an opportunity for mindfulness. Use this time to notice your breathing. Focus on the flow of breath in and out and allow everything else to just be, including your impatience or irritation.
  • Use any sound as the bell of mindfulness. Whenever you hear a phone ring, a car horn, the sound of a door closing, really listen and be present. Think of it as a reminder to be mindful of that moment.

Find a place where you can sit quietly and undisturbed for a few minutes. You can have your eyes open or close. To begin, you might want to set a timer for five minutes,.

  • Begin by bringing your attention to the present moment by noticing your breathing.
  • Pay attention to your breath as it enters and then leaves your body.
  • Before long, your mind will begin to wander, pulling you out of the present moment. You may start thinking: What’s for lunch? Should I buy that sweater? That’s ok and is totally normal.
  • Notice your thoughts and feelings as if you are an outside observer watching what’s happening in your brain. Take note and then return your attention to your breathe.
  • The goal is not to magically clear your mind; it’s to focus your mind and every time you get lost, just start again. Return your concentration to your breathing.

Make your relationship intentional and mindful by getting clear on what your partner wants or expects. You can do this by asking your partner to tell you one thing you can do to show what he or she needs to feel loved and cared for. Examples of caring behavior requests include:

  • Give me flowers once a month.
  • Hold my hand as we walk every morning.
  • Tell me you love me once a day.
  • Massage my back.

In this exercise, you’ll systematically focus your attention on different parts of your body, from your feet to the muscles in your face. It is designed to help you develop a mindful awareness of your bodily sensations. This is a particularly useful practice to learn self-awareness about how physical experience is tied to emotional experience. For each emotion we experience, there is a way in which that emotion resides in the body. Practicing this kind of body scan meditation can help you to better respond to physical and emotional cues and recognize how they are related. For example, stress might manifest itself as a stomachache for some people or a headache for others.

  1. Begin by bringing your attention into your body.
  2. You can close your eyes if that’s comfortable for you.
  3. Notice your body seated wherever you’re seated, feeling the weight of your body on the chair, on the floor.
  4. Take a few deep breaths.
  5. Notice your feet on the floor, notice the sensations of your feet touching the floor. The weight and pressure, vibration, heat.
  6. Once you take note of a body part, allow that part to fade from your awareness. Let it go and move up to the next body part.
  7. Notice your legs against the chair, pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness.
  8. Notice your back against the chair.
  9. Bring your attention to your stomach area. If your stomach is tense or tight, let it soften. Take a breath.
  10. Notice your hands. Are your hands tense or tight? Can you allow them to soften?
  11. Notice your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Let your shoulders be soft.
  12. Notice your neck and throat. Let them be soft.
  13. Soften your jaw. Let your face and facial muscles be soft.
  14. Then notice your whole body. Take one more breath.
  15. Be aware of your whole body as best you can. Take a breath.
  16. And when you’re ready, open your eyes.
Choose a food you would like to practice with (preferably something you can hold in your hand without getting messy). Something as simple as a single raisin will work well. Move slowly through these steps, taking a moment to focus on each one.

  • Before you pick up your food, notice how it looks on the table in front of you. Notice its color, how the light reflects from its surface, and its size.
  • Now, pick up the food. Notice the weight, and how the food feels against your skin.
  • Roll the object between your fingers, or roll it in your hand, and notice its texture. Notice if it’s smooth, rough, slick, soft, firm or if it has any other properties.
  • Hold the food to your nose and pay attention to its smell.
  • Next, place the food in your mouth, on your tongue, but don’t eat it. Notice how it feels in your mouth. Does the texture feel the same as on your hand? What do you taste?
  • Roll the food around in your mouth and pay attention to the feeling.
  • Finally, begin to slowly chew your food. Notice how your teeth sink into it, and how the texture is different inside. Pay close attention to the flavor, and how it spreads across your tongue.
  • Continue to chew your food, paying close attention to the many sensations as you finish.

Step 3: W(RAP) it up

W(RAP) It Up: Create a plan to move forward.

You’ve learned how to incorporate mindfulness into your life, which is important for resilience. Click on the link below, print it out and think about: what should you stop doing, continue doing, and start doing

Step 4: Explore Further

To learn more, explore our recommended resources.

books

  • Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
  • The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Now Effect: How a Mindful Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life by Elisha Goldstein Ph.D.
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn

podcasts

articles