Many of my counseling clients want to bring more mindfulness into their daily lives, but really making this happen can be challenging. It’s especially important for counselors to be mindful, so that we can really be there for our clients.
I think each person has to find their own way to go about mindfulness and today I’ll share my own way of integrating mindfulness into my normal day.
1. Mantra: Slowly Mindfully
When I’m doing something, like cooking or tidying up, I try to catch myself rushing to do it as fast as possible, and say to myself “Slowly mindfully”. Then I consciously slow my movements down for a few seconds.
2. 50% speed
I try to do some small tasks throughout the day at 50% speed. This allows me to focus mindfully on the task. For example I will decide to peel the potatoes at half the normal speed. I find that this slowing of movements really calms my mind.
3. Insight timer
I use the app insight timer to meditate. It has both guided meditations and a simple timer to time your own meditation. I find two main benefits to using this app: the app records a log of how many days in a row I meditated, providing some accountability; and the app makes it easy to quickly find a guided meditation.
I try to tune into my breathing throughout the day. I think about breathing into my stomach. If I want to release a little tension, I take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and then sigh it out. I imagine any tension being released with the out breath.
5. Looking at the trees
I look out of my window and ask myself to notice 5 things about the tree. I count five things on my fingers, for example: long branch, small green leaves, moving in the breeze, narrow trunk, top of the tree.
6. Watching the birds
I try to keep the habit that if I see a bird outside, I stop and watch it for a few seconds. This can be really uplifting!
7. Turning everything off
I find times during the day for silence, with no radio, no TV, no podcasts, and just try to focus on what I’m doing.
8. Lighting a mindfulness candle
I light a candle to create a calming atmosphere and to remind me to be mindful. Each time I see the candle I remember to smile and refocus my attention into the present.
9. Checking my posture
I check my posture, think about the word “dignity” and sit or stand up straight.
10. Feeling the breeze
I try to remember every time I’m outside to check how the breeze is: is it warm or cold, hard or very soft?
Those are some things that work for me. I often help counseling clients to find their own ways to be mindful. Contact me now if you would like to talk more about the support I offer.