Take a shower, make coffee, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, write, go see clients, etc. … When I’m not mindful, at the end of the day I can truly ask myself, “Where did the day go?” Enough of these, and I can ask myself the same questions in weeks, months, or even years! Can you relate to this?
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So when I feel like these questions are coming up, I do some brief exercises that help bring me to the present moment and remind myself that I’m living.
1. For five minutes: Whatever you are doing, just do it slightly slower. At work, we are all given tasks to do. One time per day, for five minutes, do that task a little bit slower. Do not do the task in slow motion, or take breaks from the task, simply do it a little bit slower.
2. Take five minutes at lunch to notice what you’re eating. You can actually do this at an meal, or any time you eat. You are going to notice what your food looks like, how it smells, feels, and tastes. As you pick up your food, notice the texture of it, is it bumpy, smooth, wet? Notice what you smell. As you take it in your mouth notice how it feels in your mouth, notice the tastes that are coming out of it, how your teeth break it down. As you swallow it, notice it going down your throat. Do the same with the drink.
3. Take three minutes to just sit and notice your breath. Sit in a place of your choice, could be behind your desk, or anywhere. Close your eyes. For three minutes, simply pay attention to your breath. For these three minutes, your breath gets your undivided attention. If you notice yourself thinking about something, even the thought “Why am I doing this stupid exercise?”, just notice that you’re thinking that and then gently bring your attention back to your breath.
4. Wash the dishes. If you’re not used to doing dishes, there will be many benefits to this one. As you begin to wash the dishes, notice the texture of the plate and the warmth of the water on your hands. Inhale and notice if there is any scent. Listen to hear the rush of the water or any other sounds that are happening around you. Not only will you be able to practice being in the moment, but many of your family and friends will be thrilled with you.
5. Take a bath or shower. Preferably a bath if you have one, but even with a shower, you can take your moment in the shower or bath to feel the warmth of the water or feel how your body is immersed in the water. How does your skin feel? Do you notice any smells? Is your hair wet? Just be in the moment and notice all your senses … breathe.