Everyday life provides endless opportunities for us to stop, to focus, to remind ourselves to be fully awake and present to what is happening now. Pick a few ordinary activities from your daily life that you can turn into ‘mindfulness bells’, i.e. reminders to stop, step out of automatic pilot and simply be.
Brushing your teeth. Where is your mind as you brush your teeth?
Showering. Sense the water on your body, the temperature, the pressure…
Preparing food. Any food preparation is a great opportunity for mindfulness!
Eating. Try having a meal in silence, really focusing on the food and the sensations of eating. This involves attending only to eating and the movements and flavours involved in eating. No TV, radio, book or smartphone.
Washing up. This is an opportunity to pay attention to seeing, moving, feeling all the sensations associated with washing up.
Driving. Try just driving, without daydreaming, music or other distractions. Paying attention to the actions involved in driving, the focus of your seeing, the sensations in your feet, hands, back. Can you feel your hands on the steering wheel and feet pressing down?
Red traffic lights. An opportunity to sit quietly, peacefully, while being aware of your breath.
Walking. Pay attention to the sensation of walking, using the bottom of your feet as anchors for attention. Try noticing all the muscles, bones and cartilages involved in the movement.
Telephone. When the phone rings, stop before answering to tune in to your thoughts, feelings and body – breathing with these before answering.
E-mail. Similarly to the phone, before responding to your messages, tune in to any thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations you may have. Breathing with these until your mind is more settled.
Adapted from "The Complete CBT Guide for Depression and Low Mood" by Lee Brosan and David Westbrook