We’d all like to be more mindful, right? But how? If a daily meditation practice is a possibility, find a quiet and sacred spot and practice breathing meditation, mantra, candle meditation, guided meditation, etc.
If a daily practice seems daunting, find ways to make mindfulness part of what you’re already doing! Bringing focus and intention to ordinary tasks brings the benefits of mindfulness to you every day.
- Take breathing breaks at your desk. Set an alarm on your phone to breathe! Andrew Weill MD advocates a 4-7-8 breath: inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8, repeat 4x. Practice this breath sequence twice a day to reap the benefits.
- Tune in to sensation. Try washing dishes or folding laundry mindfully. Turn off distractions, and bring your awareness to the feel of the warm water and the luxurious lather. When your mind wanders (and it will), notice that without judgment and gently bring it back to sensation. Notice the feeling of the dish in your hand, how it goes from greasy to squeaky clean. Carefully line up the corners of the towels and sheets, smoothing each fold. Feel the fabric, and the warmth of the clothes right out of the dryer.
- Create a ritual. Wake up at the same time every day and take a walk with your dog. Keep a gratitude journal (and resist the urge to post it on Facebook).
- Identify a touchstone. It can literally be a stone—something that feels good in your hand and draws your attention to sensation. Carry it in your pocket.
- Find community. Start a new yoga class and go every week. You’ll start to see the same people. Maybe you’ll organize lunch once a week. Go to a book club or start one yourself. Act with intention. You’ll be amazed at the changes you’ll witness for yourself and for others in your life.
My prayer is that we feel and nourish our connection with each other. We’re all in it together and we can trust that even in the long, dark nights of winter our hearts are turning toward the light. — Tara Brach