By Joelle Jane Marshall

Part of Managing Anxiety with Mindfulness For Dummies Cheat Sheet

As well as doing long formal mindful meditations, such as the body scan and the sitting meditation, there are informal meditations that you can easily fit into your routine on a daily basis. Incorporate these with everyday activities that you already do.

  • Brushing your teeth: This can be done in a mindful way. Feel the sensations of the brush on your teeth, smell the smell of the toothpaste and use your opposite hand to feel all the sensations in your arm and hand as you brush.

  • Showering: Feel the temperature of the water on your skin, the sensation of the texture of the sponge or shower gel on your skin, smell the shower gel, listen to the sound of the water.

  • Cleaning: Feel the sensations in your body as you vacuum or scrub, listen to the sounds of the vacuum on the carpet or the sponge on a surface. Feel all the different textures of the different surfaces you come into contact with. Smell all the different smells, if they are not too unpleasant!

  • Mindful Listening: Engage with the sounds you can hear. Notice if your mind puts a label on them. Be aware of the pitch, the volume and the quality of each sound. Listen to the silence between and underneath all sounds. Let sounds come to you without reaching for them.

  • Mindful Swimming or Exercising: Before you do any exercise such as swimming or anything else, take a few mindful breaths. Engage with all the sensations in your body as you do the activity. Connect with the experience of the exercise. If your mind wanders off, gently bring it back to whatever exercise you are doing with full attention.

  • Mindful Cooking: Begin with a few mindful breaths. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the breath. Feel the texture of all the food you are cooking if you can. Listen to the sounds of chopping, slicing, cracking eggs or whatever you may be doing. Smell all the different aromas that are coming from the food. Feel all the sensations in your body as you continue to cook. Make sure the TV is switched off and you have full attention on the meal you are preparing. If your mind wanders off, then gently guide it back to what you were doing.

  • Mindfully being in nature: Spend time in nature. Enjoying the beauty of nature can take you off automatic pilot and into the present moment. Engage with the nature around you, breathe in the fresh air and look at the scenery or the animals. The more present you are, the less time you will have for anxious and unhelpful thoughts. If you live in a busy city and nature is hard to find, consider keeping an allotment, a pet or even just a plant that you can focus on and nurture.

  • Mindful eating: Take a few mindful breaths. If you can, pick up the food that you are going to consume. Study the surface area of the food. Feel the texture of the food and the weight of it in your hand. Bring the food towards your lips. At what point can you feel yourself start to salivate? Place the food in your mouth feeling the weight of it on your tongue. Move it around your mouth with your tongue. Then bite into it, engaging with all sensations as the flavour is released and you start to chew. Continue eating your food in a mindful way.

  • Drinking tea mindfully: Ideally do this with decaffeinated or herbal tea. Place your tea bag in your cup and add hot water. Watch the rising steam and notice any smells. Feel the warmth of your cup as you pick it up. Engage with all the sensations including taste as you drink your tea. If your mind wanders off, gently bring it back.