Practising Day-to-Day, Informal Mindfulness
Part of the Mindfulness For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)
The great thing about mindfulness is that you can practise it any time. Informal mindfulness meditation is when you practise mindfulness without carving out a special time for it. Here are ten examples of informal mindfulness meditation:
Mindful communication – When you are speaking or listening to someone else, become aware of the sound of your own voice, or the voice of the other person. Each time your mind wonders off into other thoughts, kindly guide your attention back to the conversation without criticising yourself if you can.
Mindful walking – The next time you’re walking somewhere, notice the sense of touch between your feet and the ground. Observe how your weight seamlessly transfers from one foot to the other, almost effortlessly. Smell the roses. Be in the presence of the present moment.
Mindful exercise – The next time you’re in the gym, going for a jog, swimming or playing a sport, become mindful of what’s going on. Focus your mindful attention on your own body, thoughts, emotions or the environment around you. Become curious about your experience.
Mindful working – Whatever your work is, by paying more attention to what you’re doing, you’re bound to achieve better results. Try reducing the amount of effort you make to pay attention, and let the focus be effortless, relaxed and calm, as best you can.
Mindful holidays – It’s easy to spend half your holiday thinking about the next holiday rather than actually being there. Feel the gentle warmth of the sun, put the camera down every now and then and connect with the scenery with your own eyes. Breathe the fresh air. Be grateful for having the time and money to go on holiday.
Mindful waiting – You need to wait in a queue in shops, in your car, on public transport. Instead of becoming frustrated, practise some mindfulness of breath. When you’re in traffic, notice the colour of the sky or trees. When in a supermarket, feel the calming sensation of your own breath.
Mindful listening to music – Get yourself comfortable, switch on your favourite piece of music and simply listen, moment by moment. As usual, after a while your mind will begin thinking of other things – just gently guide your mindful attention back to the sounds of the music. Be aware of both the sounds and the silence between the sounds. Notice how all sounds arise and fall back into the ever-present silence.
Be accepting of others – Allow other people to be human and make mistakes. Be prepared to accept apologies and forgive others for their indiscretions.
Stimulate your appetite for knowledge and experience – Stretch yourself by reading, studying and taking on new skills.
Live in the moment – Pause to sniff those roses. Take a break from speculating about the future and sifting over the past. Instead, put the full weight of your attention into the here and now.