Do you remember your first kiss? The first time you drove a car? How about your first day of college or on the job? Do you remember the first time you looked into your child’s eyes?
The first time we experience something our awareness is heightened. Sounds, smells, tastes and feelings are so vivid.
Somewhere about the second or third experience it becomes all too familiar, and we fall into automatic pilot. We go through the motions with little attention to our surroundings. Our attention shifts to the endless stream of thoughts swirling in mind and robs our engagement with the present moment.
Mindfulness helps us return to the beginner’s mind. It helps us become more present with each moment.
Mindfulness is deliberately paying full attention to your surroundings and your experience without judgment or criticism. It can help you collect scattered thoughts and energy into a concentrated focus on life as you’re living it.
Here are a few ways you can turn seemingly mundane morning activities from mindless into mindful moments.
- Mindless: Jump out of bed as the endless to-do list begins to stream through your mind.
- Mindful: Take a deep breath and feel the comfort of your bed. Feel the sensation as your feet connect with the floor.
- Mindless: Obsess about what happened yesterday or worry about what could happen today.
- Mindful: Feel the warmth of the water. Smell the scents of the shampoo and soap. Soak in the feeling of being clean.
- Mindless: Barely chew your breakfast as you rush out the door.
- Mindful: Look at the food before you take your first bite. Chew at least your first three bites fully.
Wait in line at Starbucks
- Mindless: Your attention is buried in your iPhone checking emails, texts and status updates.
- Mindful: Smell the aromas of the coffee. Make eye contact, smile and say good morning to someone.
Sit in traffic
- Mindless: Feeling annoyed that there is another delay and frustrated that you’re late AGAIN.
- Mindful: Notice the blue sky and clouds. Feel the temperature of the air. If it’s raining, listen to the raindrops as it lands on the windshield.
Imagine how differently you would approach your day if you began with the mindful approach. Can you adopt one of these scenarios into your day?