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Mindfulness has become a bit of buzz word these days, so I’m guessing you’re familiar with the idea.
If you’re like most people, though, understanding the idea and actually putting into practice are two different things.
I suggest you start small. Don’t think about how you can meditate more or make sweeping lifestyle changes. If those things are meant to happen, they will occur naturally as you slowly grow more mindful.
Try these seven mindfulness practices to get you started. Do one the first day, two the second, and so on. They’re quick, so don’t worry that you won’t have time. At the end of the week, so how you feel. Then, keep going!
Day 1 – Gratitude Journal
Gratitude is a basic tenant of mindfulness. And it’s cyclical. The more mindful you are, the easier it is to be grateful. And the more grateful you are, the easier it is to be mindful.
If you’ve never kept a gratitude journal before, I highly recommend this one:
Day 2 – Smell Your Food
In today’s fast paced society, many of us are eating on the go, while we’re trying to work. This often leads to less healthy food choices and associated health problems.
Today and for at least the next five days, before you take that first bite of food, stop and give it a smell. Breathe in deeply and feel your body anticipate the food. (If that doesn’t happen, don’t eat it!)
Day 3 – Wiggle Your Fingers and Toes
Okay, I know, this sounds a little silly, but trust me, it works! Wiggling your fingers and toes gets you reconnected to your body, which is an important part of being mindful. Try it for a few seconds – you’ll see!
Day 4 – Spend 10 Minutes Without Technology
We’re all so plugged in these days. When was the last time you weren’t looking at a screen of some kind – computer, phone, TV, etc.?
If your only answer was “when I was asleep,” it’s been too long!
Gift yourself 10 minutes where you sit without any technology and observe the world around you. Make mental (or written if you’d like) notes about what you see.
Day 5 – Deeply Focus on Your Shower
If you’re anything like me, shower time is about getting clean and getting out. That also means you’re missing out on an opportunity to be mindful.
During your shower today and for at least the next two days, pay close attention to the feel and sound of the water, soap, shampoo, etc. Watch it swirl down the drain. (My cats do this when I’m in the shower and it’s a great reminder to be mindful!)
Day 6 – Step Back and Truly Listen
Too often in conversation with others, we’re listening to respond rather than listening to understand. This is at least partly a product of how busy we are. But it’s also a lack of mindfulness.
Today and tomorrow, when you’re in a conversation with someone, truly listen. Let them finish their thought and pause to absorb what they’ve said before you answer.
I think you’ll be surprised at how the interaction changes!
Day 7 – Stop Before You Shop
“In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation… even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.” Constitution of the Iroquois Nation
It’s pretty great that we can buy almost anything we can imagine!
But what’s the greater impact of doing that? Before you make your next purchase(s), think about where the product and all of its components came from.
How did the production of that item impact the environment, the culture of the place it was made, etc. And how will it be impacting the world seven years from now?
If you still feel good about the purchase, go for it! If not, do something more beneficial with your money. After all, every dollar you spend is a vote for the world you want to see.
How did your mindful week go? Let me know in the comments!
And if you loved these ideas and want more, check out my mindfulness book.