This blog goes out to all those interested in cultivating mindfulness in daily living and especially to those lovely students from Queens University who were at the mindfulness class at Herstmonceux Castle today. Also, a thank you to Christina Feldman for her excellent workshop yesterday at the Sussex Mindfulness Centre.
- Begin at the start of the day before you get out of bed. Bring your attention to your breathing, take two slow mindful breaths and give thanks for the day ahead.
- On rising from bed, have a big stretch, feel your body waking up and beginning to energise.
- Take a moment or two to notice your posture. Become aware of the ground beneath your feet…and breathe.
- As you dress and get ready for the day ahead, adopt an attitude of kindness and visualise yourself smiling and greeting all those you meet with an attitude of loving peacefulness.
- As you eat breakfast and other meals, eat slowly with mindful awareness. Just for two mouthfuls, think about the food you are eating. Think about where it has come from, and that it was once in the earth or on the earth. In your minds eye, see the sunlight, the rain, the earth and the farmer and farm workers who toiled to bring you the food on your plate. Smell, taste and chew your food with awareness. Give thanks for the food you are eating.
- Throughout the day take an opportunity to stop and listen to the sounds of nature. Feel the air, look up to the sky and the trees. Appreciate that you are intimately connected to mother earth, just as you are connected to all the stars in the night sky and planets in the universe.
- When you meet people, take the opportunity to listen respectfully, without agreeing, disagreeing, liking or disliking, without offering your opinion (unless asked). Try to let people finish their sentence before responding. Choose your words thoughtfully and carefully.
- Throughout the day periodically check-in with your body, perhaps on the hour. Become aware of tightness and tension in your body. See if you can breathe into the tension, letting go of tension as you exhale. See your body softening.
- Carry out your daily activities slowly and mindfully, take time as you do so… don’t rush.
- Have a periodic stretch throughout the day…and smile.
- Throughout the day use any sound that appeals to you, as the bell of mindfulness, then take a few moments to become aware of your breathing and contemplate loving kindness.
- Choose one activity each day to do with particular mindfulness; washing up, making a sandwich, baking a cake. Do it lovingly and mindfully.
- At the end of the day before you retire to bed, sit on the edge of the bed and think about any particular moments of mindfulness. Give thanks for the day and put the day to rest.
- As you lay in bed, allow yourself to breathe and let go, make friends with your breath. Do not try to sleep, do not concern yourself with sleep, for sleep is a passive process, just relax and breathe.
- Smile and send soothing thoughts to your body. As you breathe you will let go.
Until next time, Steve Clifford, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.