Bring Awareness to Your Life: Tips on Practicing Mindful Activities

Posted on January 8, 2010

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  • Be aware of your body as you awaken in the morning. Notice the various sensations – your heartbeat, breathing or points of contact with body and bed. Also, notice your thoughts. Where is your mind upon awakening?
  • Notice all the sensations involved in your morning activities such as brushing your teeth, showering, or eating breakfast.
  • One or two days a week, drive to and from work without listening to music or the radio.
  • Before you pick up the phone to answer it or make a call, take a brief pause and connect with your body and breathing.
  • When waiting in line at the grocery store, pay attention to the bodily sensations required when standing. Connect with your breathing.
  • Before a meeting, take a moment to connect with your body and breath. Connect with any sensation you may be experiencing at that moment.
  • When walking, notice your body moving and become aware of any sensations. When walking outside, notice the sensation of the wind, air, rain, sounds, birdcalls, rustling, etc.
  • When you arrive at your destination, take a moment before getting out of the car, train, bus or plane and connect with your body and breath.
  • Choose a couple of meals or snacks each week and be fully present. No talking, reading or television. Stay completely present for the meal, paying attention to the sensation, taste and texture of the food you are eating.

One method of practice, often referred to as sitting meditation, helps you train in mindfulness by focusing awareness on the breath.

Sitting Meditation

  1. Assume a comfortable posture either on the floor or sitting in a chair. Establish a sense of presence in your body.
  2. Now, bring awareness to various bodily sensations — pulsing, vibration, points of contact between body and surface, temperature — holding the whole body in your field of awareness.
  3. Next, directing attention in a more focused way, notice the sensations present when you breathe in and when you breathe out.
  4. Finally, rest awareness in the area of your body where the sensation of breathing is easiest to attend to. This may be the rise and fall of your abdomen, the movement of your chest or the sensation of air entering and leaving your nostrils.
  5. Each time the mind wanders, gently and without judgment escort awareness back to your breath.

Adapted with resources from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

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