Mindfulness 101: Where and When to Practice

DeStress Monday provides the fundamentals of mindfulness practices, including deep breathing techniques, being present and positive, and the benefits of loving kindness. You may be thinking that all of this is great information – but when and where are you supposed to do this? This Monday, we’ll give you a few simple suggestions for fitting mindfulness into your schedule.

As far as time is concerned, you can spend as little as one or two minutes at a time practicing mindfulness. If you have 15 to 20 minutes to spare, that’s great! But you can also take a minute or so to close your eyes and clear your head. Now that you know you don’t have to devote an hour to practicing with your legs twisted on a cushion, where can you spend that mindful minute (or more)?

You really can practice mindfulness anywhere. You may not be able to close your eyes, and if you’re operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery, it would be safer to just focus. But if you ever find yourself sitting, standing, waiting, or walking from one place to another, you can easily squeeze in a mindful moment. Here are a few ideas:

In the parking lot or driveway: Whether you’re getting ready to go somewhere or you’re on your way home, take a couple of moments to fill your head with positive thoughts before hitting the road.

Standing in line: Take in all your surroundings, including the people around you. Wish them loving kindness before advancing in line.

Showering: As a form of movement meditation, pay attention to the elements of your showering routine, one at a time. Listen to the water and feel how it hits your skin. Take a deep breath in the steam and inhale the fragrance of your shampoo and soap.

Doing chores or repetitive tasks: Become acutely aware of how your body moves and what it’s accomplishing while you complete a task like making your bed, cleaning up, or organizing your closet.

In bed: Either first thing in the morning or before going to sleep (or both!), spend some mindful moments setting a calm tone for the day or night and repeating positive mantras or phrases. You can wake up and go to sleep with a clear head!

Mindfulness is a practice for a reason – the only way to do it correctly is to do it as often as you can until it feels like second nature. Use this Monday to start a practice that you can do every day of the week. You’ll set a positive tone for this week and by next Monday, you’ll have a great tool for escaping stress!