Do you ever find yourself spinning down a spiral of thoughts that you just can’t shake? Are you anxious or worried about the future? Maybe you’re focused on something that happened in the past, something you just can’t shake. These are all experiences that a mindfulness practice can help with, and now you know some great tools for being mindful.
We’ve talked about this before, but one of the best parts of mindfulness is that you can take it anywhere with you. It’s an incredibly portable self-care tool that can quickly bring us out of our thoughts and connect us with our bodies, breath, environment, and the present moment. As you begin to get comfortable with mindfulness, you can then begin applying it to different areas of your everyday life.
What if I’ve told you you could take a mindful shower? Or wash the dishes mindfully? Or drive to work mindfully? Does that sound a little tricky?
Actually, practicing mindfulness with everyday, mundane tasks, is easy and an excellent tool to help you center amidst the chaos. When we think about mindfulness, we first learned to connect with our breath; the breath is an autonomic function of that body that happens without any thought. Do you think about how your hands move the steering wheel as you drive down the highway? Do you think much about scrubbing your hair when you take a shower? It’s likely that these functions are also pretty automatic, even if they’re not quite like breathing.
But when you think about everything that goes into driving a car to work, it’s really a wonder. There are so many unique sensations, hitting nearly all of the five senses. (And hey, maybe even taste if your commute requires a carafe of coffee to-go.) The next time you’re in the car, dial into the feel of the steering wheel in your hands, the hum of the gas pedal underneath your feet, and the sound of the highway. Notice the smell of the car heater, the feel of your rear in the seat, the subtle sounds of the blinker. Focusing our attention on these things, rather than mentally scrolling through your to-do list or recounting that thing you wish you hadn’t said in that work meeting, helps still our minds and bring us back into the present moment. This is part of your mindfulness practice.