Is there a simple Meditation Practice? Yes, it’s called Mindfulness. Here is my personal Mindfulness Guide for beginners. A way to meditate without sitting in meditation.
In the rapidity of your lifes we often go on autopilot. Mindfulness gains therefore importance. Mindful Awareness is a gentle approach to meditation. It allows us to slow down, embrace the moment, pause and breathe.
But how to be mindful? It’s actually easy and it’s definitely life-enhancing. Let me guide you through some simple practices that you can easily adapt into your daily routine. Keep an open mind about them. Take it playfully. Have fun with it. Relish the moment. Be HERE & NOW.
15 Simple Mindfulness Practices
You can practice Mindfulness at all times, using most of your daily activities. Here is a collection of simple practices to enter the flow:
1 Mindful walking
Turn your daily walks into a meditative exercise by paying attention to the steps you take and to your surroundings. Take in the atmosphere: The architecture of the buildings in the city, the nature in the countryside. You can observe the passing people, feel the wind playing with your hair, hear birds singing. Wake up your senses: Touch a tree and feel the texture of the bark, listen to the crisp of the snow under your feet…
You can pay attention to your pace, to the lifting of your feet, to the shifting of balance. It’s a good option for an indoor walking practice. Even on a small surface. There is indeed something called ‘walking meditation’. I learned it in a Silent Retreat (read about it below). We walked barefoot around the grounds of a jungle in Thailand. Slowly and carefully to not to disturb the creatures that inhabit the space.
2 Mindful eating
It is one of the greatest pleasures of life to savor the food! Being a foodie I always enjoyed a lovely experience of cooking in a nice company or eating in a good restaurant. Having lived in France I learned from the French to focus on my plate while eating. They know how to relish food. To share the experience by talking about it. To eat slowly, regularly… and to pair it with a good wine of course ; )
Living in different countries and traveling a lot, I was lucky to enjoy local cuisine of many places, however it was later in life that I got a new approach to food. Yet another experience of the Silent Retreat – to eat in complete silence. Alone. Fully experiencing the taste, the textures, the sounds even. And especially – the appreciation.
So here is my tip: Sit alone, eliminate distractions, use your senses: Smell it before you taste it. Take small bites and eat slowly. Appreciate the sensation on your tongue.
Eating slowly is healthier and better for digestion anyway. Just a positive side effect for which your body will thank you.
3 Sensory experience
Use all of your 5 senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. Remind yourself to stop for a moment during the day and to SENSE.
To visually take in the details of your environnement, to touch the texture of your sofa, to listen to the rain falling on a surface, to smell a flower, to feel the sun on your face. The perception of senses draws your attention into the present moment.
Tip: Download the ‘Calm’ app. It’s quite fun. It sends reminders to find 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you smell etc. You can do it everywhere at any time.
4 Body scan
It’s about noticing what happens in our bodies. Stop for a moment, sit quietly and ‘check in’ into each part of our body. Simply by moving your attention to each area, respectively. Feeling any kind discomfort or pain. Knowing that it will pass. Breathing or even smiling into the area. Listen to your body. Cherish it. It’s your vehicle though this adventure called life. Take good care of it.
5 Watching the mind
You can observe your mind without forcing yourself to stop thinking. Simply watch your thoughts coming and going, passing like clouds in the sky. You acknowledge them without attaching any importance to them. Welcome them without judgment and then let them go.
The idea is to let go of thoughts before we get caught up in them. Don’t take them too seriously. Don’t believe all of them. Question them. You are the listener but you are not the mind!
6 Mindful listening
Try to be a good listener. With the intention to understand rather than to react and respond. We tend to drift away into our own thought process while listening to someone. Often we focus on the points we want to make or the story we want to share while the other person is still talking. The mind likes to wander and sometimes you find yourself being caught up in your own mind chatter.
Mindful listening means being fully present, not only in the body, but REALLY hearing what is being said. Focus. No judgement, interumpion or even worse, change of subject. We all appreciate empathy. We don’t only want to be heard but also understood. So it’s only fair to return the favour to others. It’s an act of love and kindness to be there for the other person. Giving him/her your time and your undivided attention.
7 Daily chores
Your daily chores can be a mindful practice too. Executing tasks with concentration and dedication is not only more effective but can also be fun. Seeing our errants as a mindful ritual changes our perception from obligation to enjoyment.
Engage fully in your work and don’t rush to the end. Enjoy the process of dusting your furniture, of chopping veggies, or folding your laundry… Smell the clean cloths, the fresh peppers. Feel the texture of the sponge, see how nice the polished surfaces sparkle.
Every simple act can be seen as a sacred ritual of love and devotion. It’s up to you if you feel like it’s a ‘duty’ or mindful ‘fun’ : )
8 Il dolce far niente – the sweetness of doing nothing
There is time for everything. There is time to work and there is time to rest. Remember to block some time off, to just BE. Call it ‘Me-time’ or ‘Nothing time’. Learn how to be still. It’s our right to rest. With no phone or other distraction. Even if it’s only for 5 min daily.
Yes, I know you are busy. You have responsibilities. Think about it that way: The biggest responsibility you have is towards yourself. You owe it to your body and to your mind to have a break.
Tips for Nothing-moments: Relaxing bubble bath or lighting up a scent (or palo santo), putting the feet up and listening to relaxing music. What a bliss.
9 Mindful hobbies
Find your own things. Gardening, drawing, painting, knitting, pottery, cycling… There are so many leisure activities that actually scream Mindfulness.
Don’t focus on the outcome, lose yourself in the process (but get in touch with your TRUE self), dive into the activity, create a flow state. Enjoy yourself!
10 Mindful intimacy
Sexuality – one of our biggest pleasures (next to food) – should be RELISHED. It’s a sensual and sensorial experience. Each part of our body is important and has its own pleasure receptors. The touch or taste of the skin, the look in the eyes, the sounds, the smells, the surroundings… We are all different and we have different likings but it’s nice to go down the soft path from time to time.
I’m not talking about the cliché of body oil massages, scented candles, sexy lingerie, ice cubes, strawberries and champagne. I’m talking about BEING PRESENT. Taking the time to savour the moment. Listen to your partner’s body language. Be tantric, be mindful, be there, be passionate. At the end of the day, sex is all about passion right?
11 Urge surfing
The observing of our cravings and impulses can also be a mindful practice. To be aware of them without fighting them or giving in to them. It can be itching of your nose or the craving for a cupcake. Just watch it rise and come down like the waves of the sea.
Affirmations and mantras are positive, conscious thoughts. It’s about awareness. Spoken consciously (best aloud) and regularly they enter our subconscious mind and change our beliefs. It’s a very powerful practice. We mindfully CHOSE to see the proverbial glass half full. Even if you are not very spiritual, try to look at them from the psychological perspective. As a form of personal development and growth.
As there is an app for everything nowadays, of course there are also affirmation apps. I recommend ‘I am’. See it as a playful game to be reminded that you ‘attract success’, ‘let go of worries’ or that ‘negative self-talk has no place in your life’.
It really can be fun. Imagine, you are sitting in a meeting where your boss is trying to apply pressure, to speed up a project and at the very same moment your app tells you that ‘it’s ok to slow down’ : )
Moving from Affirmations to Visualisation & Manifestation. Yes, we should definitely have dreams, goals and plans BUT at the same time always CHERISH what you already have NOW! Gratefulness is very powerful. Listing things that you are grateful for makes you realise how fortunate you are. It releases happiness.
Tip: Every evening think back to your day and make a mental list of 5-10 things that you are grateful for. You will find yourself falling asleep with a smile. Should unpleasant things have occured, accept them as a possibility to learn from the experience and to grow. Trusting that everything happens for a reason.
14 Mindful breathing
Taking a step towards meditation – mindful breathing & breath regulation. Pranayama. You can take it as a One-Minute-Meditation. Stop whatever you do, set a time and breathe. In our daily routine we forget how to breathe ‘correctly’. Our breath is too shallow. By reminding ourselves to breathe mindfully we take deeper breaths and provide our brain with more oxygen.
Again, there is an app! : ) Whoever has an Apple watch knows it already, as the ‘Breath’ option is integrated. It pops up and advises you to concentrate on your breath for a minute. I personally find it very cool. Of course you can opt to reject it but why would you? You can do it in any situation. Even in an important meeting. Because, hey! Who can stop you from breathing ?!
I’m sure you know the expression ‘count to ten’ when you get upset. Well it’s not actually about the counting itself, but about regulating the breath that aims to calm you down. I recently heard about the STOP method: Stop. Take a few deep breaths. Observe your body & emotions. Proceed with love & kindness.
15 Loving kindness
Loving-Kindness Meditation aims to mindfully connect with others and to strengthen feelings of kindness towards them.
There are various forms of Loving-Kindness Meditation but the core is the same: You imagine yourself receiving Loving-Kindness, let’s call it the light. Then you extend the light to other human beings. First you concentrate on those you love, simply because it feels natural. Then you include neutral people and all living beings, and finally you extend it to people that hurt or wronged you. This is the most difficult part but in an act of forgiveness you are not only letting go of the grudge you are holding against the other person but you are filling yourself with light. Because by sending love, we receive love.
It’s a beautiful meditation. During my first experience back then in that tropical jungle, I was blessed with a wonderful spiritual guide who had a calm voice and a warm heart. I cried rivers.
Adapting Mindfulness as Lifestyle
Practicing mindful awareness is a process that can easily be learned. With time the practice increases gradually and you will find yourself living mindfully without actually ‘practicing it’. Savouring each and every moment will become your second nature and life will seem so much more interesting. Richer and more intense. Without changing your external situation you will feel living a fulfilled life.
Mindfulness doesn’t mean being apathish. It means relishing the moment. Finding happiness in little things, slowing down, doing one thing at a time, living every day as if it was our last. The answers are lying without ourselves. We really don’t need that much to be happy!
Enjoy yourself at every stage of your life and with each step taken. Be determined to find beauty everywhere. And remember – no autopilot (especially not while eating or during sex ; )).
I would be delighted if you took me with you on your own Mindfulness Journey, so please do share your experiences.