Using mindfulness for stress reduction is a very popular program offered at many health and holistic centers around the world. Mindfulness for stress reduction often involves some form of sitting meditation and also sometimes incorporates different types of yoga.
Did you know you can reduce stress through mindfulness in everyday life without having to necessarily do sitting meditation? Here are some helpful things you can incorporate into daily life starting today, to help reduce your stress by becoming more mindful and aware of your actions.
This is a meditation technique often taken from the Buddhist traditions of Therevada. It involves walking mindfully, feeling every movement as you walk. It’s best to do this if you’re out walking on a break or if you’re going on an evening walk.
Simply observe the motions of your legs moving up and your feet following them. When you bring your feet back down, feel the ground beneath your feet supporting your weight and the different sensations. Do this enough and you will gain a new appreciation for all the movements in your body and you will feel new sensations you have never noticed before. You will feel like a blind person who can see and is for the first time appreciating a sunrise.
Most of us are so busy that we eat while we’re reading a newspaper or watching TV. When we eat, we chew, but we don’t really taste the food. Doing two things at once doesn’t actually get more accomplished, it waters down the quality.
It’s common for us to scoop up pieces of food onto our fork and arrange it with the intention of getting the right combination of pleasure into our mouth. However, once the food is in our mouth, we don’t really taste the food. We’re often already contemplating how to arrange our next spoonful.
During this exercise, observe the whole chewing process, and really think about where this food came from before it came onto your plate. Gain appreciation for all the people who helped grow the ingredients and transport it to the store, and everyone else involved in its handling. You will gain new found appreciation for your food, and it will give you another chance to be mindful. An easy mindfulness meditation in daily life.
Mindful During Daily Activities
This can involve any activity you’re doing, be it washing the dishes, sweeping the house, getting in your car or taking out the garbage. Be really mindful, what is your state of mind when you’re doing this? Are you simply running on automatic, are you angry, irritated or anxious without knowing why? We often do many of our daily activities while carrying around the baggage of stress, and we don’t know why. During these activities is a great time to examine our states of mind.
For instance, we might wash the dishes 6 or 7 nights a week. Some nights, we wash the dishes and we’re happy. Some nights we’re angry. Some nights we’re anxious. It’s the same activity, but the emotional state accompanying it is different. This is a good time to examine why and it help you let go. This will help you get to understand the potential of mindfulness based stress reduction.
Mindful of Our Daily Habits
When you brush your teeth, which side of the mouth do you usually start with? When you come home, which shoe do you usually take off first? If you don’t know, it’s because you’re doing all these things on automatic. Next time, pay attention to your routines, where do you start? The next day, try doing it differently. Start brushing your teeth on a different side of your mouth. Take off your other shoe first. Can you remember to do this?
This is a very good exercise in using mindfulness in stress reduction because you develop your awareness and alertness that will help you maintain positive states of mind.