Being mindful can help us in everyday situations. Particularly when we suffer with stress, boredom, tiredness and frustration. There are many ways to be mindful, but too often we forget two simple daily activities in which mindfulness can be present.
Eating and Breathing. Sounds simple? That’s because it is, but in it’s simplicity is a powerful healing tool that we can take with us everywhere.
Mindful eating involves all the sensations of eating, including smelling, tasting, chewing, and swallowing. Mindful eating also involves being aware of the body’s signals, such as full or hungry, and our satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the foods eaten.
Activity: Prepare a very small piece of food, such as one raisin, a nut, ¼ of a banana or small cracker.
First, explore this food with your sense of smell. What do you notice? Now take your first bite. Chew slowly (hint the more you chew the better the experience will be!), noticing the actual sensory experience of chewing and tasting. Close your eyes for a moment to focus on the sensations of chewing, tasting, and swallowing. Notice if the intensity of the food’s flavour changes, moment to moment. Proceed with your second and final bite and again focus on the experience. What does the body and not your mind, have to tell you about the food you ate? Practice this as often as you can.
Mindful breathing involves bringing awareness to the physical sensations of breathing in your body. In the modern world we have forgotten how to breath deeply and fully. Practicing mindful breathing enhances your concentration, gets you in touch with your body, and can support you in times of stress.
Activity: Close your eyes. Bring attention to the physical sensations of breathing in to your body, wherever you feel them most strongly. Just keep your attention on the bodily sensations of breathing as you breathe normally. Now take a deep breath in. Keep breathing in until you can’t take any more air in. Hold this breath for a moment then gently release it. Notice the sensations in your body. Continue to breath deeply in a slow mindful pace. If you notice your attention has wandered, simply bring it back to the breath. Next time you feel stressed, try a 3 or 5 minute mindful breathing meditation, and notice the difference.