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Dec 17

How to Use Mindfulness on the Fly

6 Ways to Practice Spontaneous Meditation for Everyday Moments 

When we hear the word “meditation” we may conjure up an image of someone sitting lotus position in a secluded room chanting ohhhmmm for hours. Although this caricature of meditation has been reinforced for years in our western culture, meditation doesn’t have to align to that preconceived notion at all.

On the contrary, meditation can be practiced on the fly by harnessing the power of using mindfulness throughout the day. These mini-meditation sessions do not require a special room or any large time allotment. Mindfulness, or the purposeful practice of paying attention to the moment, can be cultivated as an essential action that assists you during the day—no matter where you are or what you are doing.

6 Ways to Use Mindfulness Throughout the Day

Think about the various activities you are engaged in each day. They might include work, parenting duties, cleaning, running errands, visiting a friend, engaging in sports or hobbies, paying bills, or interacting with a partner.

Any activity can be difficult to really focus on due to challenges such as:

  • Stress overload: Many complain of having too many demands placed on them, feeling like a hamster in a wheel, unable to ever finish their daily tasks.
  • Interruptions: An avalanche of emails, IMs, incessant meetings, housemates, children, pets that interrupt your concentration can all contribute to stress.
  • Conflicts: You might be butting heads with a new boss or feel a coworker is gunning for you. Maybe simmering issues with family, friends or neighbors are fueling cortisol production and causing emotional distress.
  • Boredom: Surprisingly, trying to appear engaged, busy, and productive at a boring job can be exhausting and stressful. Being bored at home is pretty stressful as well.

Covid and the resultant changes in how we work and interact/engage with one another has added an additional layer of stress to our daily lives.

Now imagine how different these seemingly ordinary events and activities could become by simply training yourself, through focused breathing and engagement, to really, really be present while experiencing everyday moments.

 

Here are 6 ways to incorporate mini-meditations via mindfulness into your normal, everyday life:

  1. At work.

    While everyone’s job is unique, there are certain universal challenges that can occur during a given workday that mindfulness can help alleviate. When your head is spinning as you juggle an outrageous number of demands, try to manage distractions, attempt to get along, and struggle to look engaged, begin the practice of spending a minute or two an hour in mindfulness mode at work. Set a reminder on your phone until it becomes a daily habit to spend a couple of minutes each hour focusing on your breathing. This helps break the momentum of craziness and puts the workday into manageable chunks separated by calm focused breathing.

  2. Parenting.

    Whether you are fixing breakfast, tying shoelaces, giving baths or helping with homework, parents often check out mentally, operating on autopilot. Train yourself to really be in the moment, even with these seemingly mundane parenting duties. Watch their expressions, listen to their chatter, and pay attention to their beauty. Children grow up fast. Rein in your daydreaming and really be with them when you read a story or brush their hair. Focus on the one act, like hair brushing, really focus on it, and notice how enjoyable it is, the pleasure you find in this bonding moment with your child.

  3. Chores.

    Who doesn’t hate doing housework? Cleaning house is a universal hate, for sure, but the rote practice of sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, mopping, even folding laundry can allow for some quiet meditation moments. Train your mind to focus strictly on the motion of the vacuum cleaner, the sounds, the nice way the carpet looks. Pick up each piece of laundry and focus on the softness of the fabric, the colors, the textures, and slow down to fold each piece just so.

  4. Social Settings.

    How often do our minds drift off while a friend or colleague is talking to us? We may be half listening, thinking about our next witty response or considering ways to change the subject. We may be bored with the person and mentally checked out. Practicing mindfulness in social settings teaches us to listen authentically as the friend is sharing, and then to respond in a meaningful way that shows you not only listened but also want to contribute to the conversation.

  5. Transitions.

    You know how it goes….You stop working and want to relax. You may plop down with the remote and stare hypnotically at the TV, not really watching at all. Sometimes the best way to relax is to not distract oneself with mindless TV, but to take a few minutes to practice mindfulness. Get a mindfulness app on your device or tune in to a mindfulness podcast. These tools can guide you toward achieving deep relaxation through meditation, so you can genuinely unwind.

  6. With Your Partner.

    Let’s face it, sometimes when the partner is feeling amorous you’re thinking about all the things you need to get done. While going through the motions of romance, your mind is making a grocery list or thinking about the project that is due tomorrow at work. Use mindfulness to stay in the moment and focus on your mate—the sensations, the breathing, and the powerful bonding effect of intimacy.

 

PeoplePsych provides comprehensive psychotherapy services in Illinois. Our therapists strive to help clients achieve their best self, ultimately improving their quality of life. PeoplePsych therapists are proficient in teaching clients effective mindfulness techniques that can be accessed throughout the day, leading to enhanced relationships and a more balanced life.

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