More joy. More creativity. Wisdom. Emotional balance.
You’ll notice these things when you start bringing small mindfulness practices into your day.
Mindful actions and short meditations of one or two minutes can change your life. When I do these things a few times a day, I feel the difference.
It’s easier to greet challenges with peace. I feel more alive.
See what happens when you try out a couple of the practices below. Do them in the morning, around lunch time, in the evening. Anytime.
Try them out for a few days. See what you notice.
Make them a habit and you’ll remember to use them when you feel stressed. You’ll feel more solid. You’ll feel like you have more resources.
Of course, those resources have been there all along. You’re just seeing them now because you’re increasing your awareness of what happens inside you.
These practices will help you enjoy your day more. You’ll get more pleasure out of things you don’t normally pay that much attention to.
Start Your Day With Awareness
Before you get out of bed, bring your attention to your breath.
You don’t need to try to breathe deeply. Just find a place where you feel your breath coming into and leaving your body. This might be your chest, your belly or your nostrils.
Breathe naturally and notice what it feels like. Do this ten times.
Your mind will probably drift, perhaps to stories about the day ahead. When it does, gently return to your breath. No judgments.
A Mindful Lunch
If you normally work while you’re eating lunch, this one is especially good. It will only take two minutes.
Take a bite of food and let it sit in your mouth a moment. Don’t chew yet.
Notice: Is the food soft? Hard? Is your saliva starting up? What’s that like?
Notice: Sweet. Tangy. Neutral.
Cold. Hot. Warm. Room temperature.
Now chew slowly, or move the food around your mouth if it’s something like yogurt. Notice how the texture feels.
Notice how the flavor fades as you chew.
What are you thinking? “I like this food. I don’t like it. I don’t have time to be doing this. This has flavors I’ve never noticed.”
You’re at work and you’re crabby as all get out. You wish everyone would just leave your shared open office so you could be by yourself. But that’s not going to happen.
You’re at a restaurant with some people you don’t know that well. You feel awkward and have a little headache.
It’s time for some Restroom Meditation.
Whenever you need to ground yourself and you’re in a public place, the restroom is always available. You only need a couple of minutes to breathe before you start feeling better.
When you go into the stall and close the door, feel your gratitude for this moment of privacy. You might want to repeat a short affirmation such as this:
Breathing in, I am aware of this small space.
Breathing out, I remember that my heart is as vast as the sky.
Breathing in, I am thankful for plumbing, water and soap.
Breathing out, I know that each moment is a new beginning.
Driving the Car
Boredom, a neutral feeling, irritation, anxiety, light-heartedness, impatience can all arise and fade away in one trip to the supermarket.
What’s it like for you to wait at a stoplight? If I’m not stressed because I’m running behind, I’m often lost in thought. Sometimes I’m present, looking at the other cars, looking at drivers.
The next time you’re at a stoplight, pay attention to your breathing as you’re sitting there.
When I remember to do this, I usually find that my thoughts are going all over the place. But it still gets me driving more gently. I don’t get so annoyed with other drivers.
Practice Compassion For Yourself and Others
This is a very short meditation on your intention that you and others be filled with a sense of well-being.
It starts with saying the following phrases to yourself silently or aloud:
May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well in body and mind.
May I be free from anger and anxiety.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
From there we move onto a second set of intentions:
May (name of some person) be filled with loving kindness.
May (he or she) be well in body and mind.
May (he or she) be free from anger and anxiety.
May (he or she) be peaceful and at ease.
Say these lines maybe three or four times.
In my work as a life coach and therapist, I often give this meditation to my clients. They’re generally surprised to see how quickly it eases their feelings about themselves and other people.
I do better work if I repeat it a few times before I meet with someone.
Use this meditation when you’re feeling challenged by your relationship with somebody else.
Use it if you’re challenged by your relationship with yourself.
Readers, please tell us about how you bring mindfulness into your day. And, if you try one of these practices, I’d love to hear about how it goes for you.