This is the final part of our series on mindful practices for stress-relief. As you now know, mindfulness is bringing one’s attention and focus into the present moment with an attitude of openness and non-judgment. In Part 1 we learned how the practice of mindful breathing can help reduced stress and lower anxiety. In Part 2 we practiced becoming aware of the present moment. In Part 3 we experiemented with the red light meditation. And in Part 4 we invited you to explore the mindful body scan.
Our final practice is BRINGING MINDFULNESS TO A DAILY ACTIVITY
The activity itself can be anything, like doing the dishes, brushing your teeth or taking a walk in the woods. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, just pick one thing that you can commit to bringing conscious awareness to as you’re doing it. Make it a goal to stay present with your experience throughout the task.
How it works: Once you’ve decided on which activity to focus on, do exactly that. Focus on it. What are the sensations that are present when you’re engaged in the task? Notice what you can see. Have you ever really noticed those things before? What can you feel in your body as you perform this daily task? What can you hear, smell, taste, touch? Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do this. You’re just noticing, without needing to judge or change the experience!
Why do it: Bringing conscious awareness to daily tasks is a great way to practice mindfulness! For most of us, we are going to be doing them anyway, so we might as well use the opportunity to become more present. It’s a way to engage more fully with our daily experience, and at times it may be more interesting or fun than just going through the motions. It also can help shift the attention to the activity itself, and the body’s experience of it, rather than focusing on the stress generated by mundane tasks. Try it and see for yourself!