5 Simple Ways to Weave Mindfulness Into Your Day-to-Day Routine
Many wonderful people want to be mindful, but wanting to be mindful, and actually practicing it are two different things entirely.
This is why we must strategize and design the day so that certain mindfulness techniques become a habit during certain habitual actions we do every day. It is necessary, because of the monkey mind (which is what Buddhists call the overactive thinking mind), to design your mindfulness practice around your routine, around your schedule.
Practicing these techniques during certain times and actions of your day, according to what you are doing could save your relationships, your job, or even your life, as you will see. Let’s see if we can input these techniques where we need them most:
1. Use heartfulness during interactions with people:
It’s so clear that what is needed in this world, especially during these times, is less fear and more love. It’s safe to say that most people are stressed out by other people. Realize that stress is just fear, and that love is the only thing that can fill up that space and eliminate the fear.
Try this: Bring your right hand to your heart and your left hand will come on top of the right. Close your eyes and concentrate on the breath. After a few rounds of breath, begin to visualize that you can breathe through your heart, as if there were holes there in the center of your chest. Bring all of your focus to the heart. Breathe a few rounds of breath like this, and notice the feeling and energy of the heart. Open your eyes, bring your hands to your sides and continue to feel inside the heart center, the energy that lives, according to the chakra system, right at the center of the chest. Challenge yourself to feel its swirling energy.
If you have a family, or have a career in which you deal with a lot of people, or have a very active social life, the exercise above will be important for you to practice every morning and night, when you wake up or before you go to bed. Do the heart exercise above any time you can remember to do it, like on your lunch break for instance.
When you are actually interacting with people at your job, during your travels, in your community, at home, go straight to the heart. Bring all your bodily awareness right into the center of your chest. If it helps you to get into the feeling in your heart, you can bring your right hand up to the center of your chest.
Imagine that you have light that is beaming out to the person to whom you are speaking, even it’s on the phone. Even if it’s through an email. Imagine multiple beams if you are speaking to more than one person, or on a conference call.
Imagine that that light and heat from your heart can kindle the light and heart from theirs. Because it can. Experiment with this, and see if it’s true for yourself. Smile at the other, soften energetically towards the people (and animals) in your everyday life. Look into the eyes of the other and show your care and truly “see” her or him.
It helps to do this technique with everyone so the habit becomes stronger, whether it is someone you don’t know, or whether it is your child. Of course, it will be easier when you are around someone you love.
It will take some time to make it a habit, but perseverance and remembering are what it takes to make this heartfulness a habit, day in and day out.
2. When working, moving toward career goals and other things like working out—things that require your stamina and mental willpower—bring attention to the solar plexus.
The solar plexus is below the chest in the pit pf the stomach, right where the two ribcages part from each other. According to the chakra system, this is the place where your will and power reside. It also is said to govern your mental abilities.
Take a few breaths right now into this area to feel the aliveness there below your chest. If it helps, you can place a hand over this area. This might help you to feel its radiation. The solar plexus holds a lot of warmth. It is a place of heat and energy.
Whenever you are doing something that requires willpower or strength of mind, go to this place and imagine white light powering your whole body and mind. While working, breathe into the solar plexus and let the exhale flow from there too.
Remember to focus on this chakra or energy center throughout your day when working or exercising. Make a little note and leave it on your desk. It can say something like “willpower now,” and this will remind you to get inside the swirling, churning place of strength and personal power, to bring your awareness to this vibrant spot.
3. Breathe during the moments and events of your day that cause you stress:
Repeat to yourself, “Just the breath, just the breath, just the breath.” It can be your mantra while you’re doing any number of things that stress you out. Then pay attention to the breath. Choose just one spot in the body where you will feel and observe the breath.
Choosing the belly is a good spot because it will ensure you are breathing deeply, that your inhales and exhales are long and deep. It could also balance the adrenals and work the core a bit with the breath work.
Think about the activities of your day that cause even the slightest stress. Driving is (and should be for alertness purposes) a little stressful for most people. Breath focus will cause you not only to be more alert, but calm so right action comes to you in case there is something in the road. Pay attention the little spots in your day like driving when you get even the tiniest bit stressed. A slight increase of heart rate is enough to verify that a little bit of stress has come into play.
If you have a family, the evening hours can be a stressful time, and early mornings can be stressful for families too. Your calm will bring calm to them.
But weren’t you supposed to be in your heart when relating with people? Choose your technique. Let the one that comes to you easiest be the one you use. Or simply do a combination of breath and body awareness by breathing into the heart. Do a combination by breathing into the solar plexus (who isn’t at least a little stressed out at work?).
4. Make contact with the ground:
When you walk in designated places, make connection with the ground. Feel the movement of your feet as they press down and off the ground. When you get more deeply into this specific mindfulness practice, you can try to feel the energy of the ground through your feet.
Brainstorm about the places that you walk where you know you lack presence, where you walk and think way too much. Truly think about all the places where you walk: down your hall, around your neighborhood, on the treadmill, in the office parking lot, at the grocery store. Pick 3 places where you are most unconscious, where you are basically sleepwalking (why did I come in here?).
Practice mindful walking in these 3 designated places. Make it places where you walk almost every day. Find the enjoyment in the walking, in the feeling of contact with the ground and the energy play between the ground and your feet.
5. Eat with interest and gratitude:
Get interested in your food. Look at it, notice it. Pay attention the color and texture of your foods. Taste with complete curiosity. Observe the mechanisms of the mouth, the teeth, the jaw, the tongue, and the throat. Count the number of times you chew before you naturally wish to swallow. Be completely inside your mouth and digestive system while you eat.
Say thank you in your mind while eating. Give thanks to the food for giving its energy to you, for nourishing you and providing you with the fuel you need to live your life. Bless it before you eat it. Sit in complete gratitude while you eat.
Sit at a table and let it be as holy as you can in that moment. Honor your eating process as much as you can remember. This habit alone could change everything. It is not super easy to do, but it is simple. Persevere even when you are short on time, when you are moving quickly through your day, when there is distraction.
Try to make eating like this a habit. At least one meal a day can and should be mindful like this.
Mindfulness could change the ultimate quality of your life: your relationships, your work, your safety and your health. As long as we have the power to focus and observe ourselves, this is the secret to a rich and beautiful life.
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Comment below if you have your own way of adding mindfulness to the design of your day! Or if you have anything else to say about it.
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