I recently attended a mindfulness session led by mindfulness coach and play-based therapist, Jacquie O’Malley. She explained in clear and easy terms how bringing even a little mindfulness (respectful and judgment-less presence in the moment) to each day can bring about enormous, healthy changes in our brains, moods and lives. She spoke of practicing mindfulness in the simplest of ways, starting by taking five minutes each day to bring awareness to something small and regular that we do.
Mindfulness In All We Do
She offered the example of a cup of coffee, how she began to take five minutes each morning to really enjoy her own coffee, to pay attention to the taste and smell of it, to quietly savor it without thinking about the next thing that had to be done.
I usually have a cup of tea or coffee at some point during the day, so I thought this would be a practical way to ensure I bring five minutes of mindfulness to my day as well. I’m usually splashing cream in my tea while filling up a Sippy cup, or running to the stove when the smell of scorched milk reminds me I’ve forgotten all about adding it to my coffee. I usually find my mug later, half-filled with cold liquid and think “oh, that’s where it went.”
Certainly not the most mindful of practices, or the most enjoyable either. This small change would be, perhaps, a small challenge for me, but one I could probably handle and definitely appreciate.
When my four year old was playing and my youngest was napping (it is tough to give anything my full attention with a 19 month old who likes to climb the furniture), I went to the cabinet to choose my tea. I took a moment to look at the different boxes and bags I have instead of just grabbing the type with the most caffeine.
After choosing one that smelled delicious and seemed suitably simple (organic jasmine green), I chose a mug, selecting a handmade one that I thought would feel nice sitting in my hand. I’d chosen a loose-leaf tea, so I assembled what I would need while the kettle boiled, listening to first the hiss of the steam and then the whistle it made.
I poured the water over the heaping teaspoon of rich green coiled leaves and buds, breathing in the heady, ethereal fragrance of jasmine flowers. I did nothing else while my tea was brewing but feel the smooth, sloping side of the warm mug against my palm, breathe in the steam and listen to my daughter play in the next room. And for the next few minutes, I enjoyed the heck out of that cup of tea.
Bringing Mindfulness Into Your Day
What small change can you make to bring mindfulness into your day? When we practice mindfulness with something simple, small and enjoyable, we train our brains to for handling big, messy and unenjoyable situations in a mindful way.
We also give ourselves some lovely moments of truly being where we are, doing what we are doing, without one foot in the future and the other in the past. It can be hard to do during our hectic days, but when our days are hectic, that’s when it can be the most helpful and necessary. You can even practice this while showering (the place where I usually have at least a portion of the time to myself!), breathing in the scent of your shampoo or closing your eyes and listening the sound of the water.
What will you choose to practice giving your full attention to each day?