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Mindfulness Simplified: How To Be Mindful In Daily Life

When you think about mindfulness, what comes to your mind?

I bet the picture that comes to your mind is of someone who is in deep meditation, probably sitting under a tree, away from the noise and chaos of the city. 

What if I tell you, that mindfulness could also be practised while doing monotonous tasks of the day, like cooking or cleaning utensils, or walking?

Cannot believe me? Hold on to that thought as we explore the definition of mindfulness and how we can simplify it so that everyone can practise it.

What is mindfulness?

Jon Kabat Zinn, a researcher who has studied the concept of meditation and mindfulness in-depth, defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”

Three parts of this sentence need to be highlighted-

  1. Being aware 
  2. Paying attention in the present moment on purpose
  3. Being non-judgemental about the thoughts and feelings experienced

To give an example, you could be mindful while eating fruit. Let’s say a mango.

Picture this- You take the mango in your hand. You smell it and bring all of your attention to this fruit that you are holding in your hand. You cut it into pieces by being mindful of your movements with the knife, you see that as you make a cut a small portion of its juice spills out. You notice this as you take a bite in your hand. You notice how it has different shades of colour, some juicy parts are darker in colour than others. You take your first bite and savour the experience. Paying attention to the flavours in your mouth. You notice the thoughts and emotions you are feeling currently but choose to be non-judgemental about it.

This is exactly how you can be mindful while eating a mango. Or anything else for that matter!

You can be mindful while walking in the park. You can be mindful when you are brushing your teeth. 

Mindfulness is an experience that you can cultivate at any point in time by being in the present moment and aware of your surroundings.

Why choose to be mindful?

Being mindful daily has many benefits. Some of them are-

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved mental focus
  • Better emotional regulation
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Improved physical health
  • Increased levels of compassion 

How can you be mindful if you have no time?

This is the excuse that most people come up with while talking about mindfulness. Well, here is how you can practise mindfulness even when you are busy -

  • Breathing Exercises- For most people, it is a boring task to sit in one place and close their eyes for 20 minutes. They tend to get restless or have a lot of different thoughts that pop up in their mind. During times like these, you can do small breathing exercises. 

You can set an alarm for two minutes on your phone and take some time to focus on your breathing. If you think of certain things that you should be doing at this time, just observe those thoughts and do not engage in them. 

The best part about these exercises is that you can do them multiple times throughout the day! The more you do it, the better this habit will be strengthened in your brain. Sounds easy, right?

  • Daily tasks with mindfulness- Many of us love drinking tea. During this time, try to be mindful of the tea that you are drinking. Pay attention to the aroma, the flavour, and the steam rising from the hot tea. Notice the thoughts and sensations that come up. 

You do not need to take time out to do these daily tasks. You can be mindful while doing them. The movement of your hands or legs is also a great way to bring your attention back to the present moment. This way you need not sit still to be mindful.

  • Noticing unique patterns- Being mindful is about paying attention to the present moment. What do you do when your focus is on the present moment? You notice new things! It could happen that you passed by a spot for ages now but you suddenly notice that there is a small grocery store nearby. 

Try this as a small experiment right now - Be mindful and see if you can notice at least 5 new things in your surroundings. It could be something you had already seen, try to see it from a different perspective. 

Mindfulness is also about seeking novelty. Notice your thoughts and emotions with curiosity and acceptance.

These are a few tips you can apply in your daily life and be mindful of. Trust me, once this becomes a habit, it would be easy and natural for you.