Updated: Aug 26
The following article is a breakdown of some different mindfulness activities that you can incorporate into your daily routine to promote mindful awareness. Whilst many of these activities may sound simple, and they are once practiced, to begin with, they may seem overwhelming to adopt. It is important to not be hard on yourself if you have difficulty mastering any of these activities, as the practice is difficult. Mindfulness is based around compassion, including being compassionate with oneself. Often, our inner monologue can be our own worst enemy.
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Once you can practice mindfulness effectively the results are highly rewarding. In addition to promoting emotional intelligence, and self-awareness, mindfulness can also affect those you interact closely with. Whether these are family members, friends, or colleagues, our behaviours will affect those around us.
It is important to be cautious about practicing mindfulness if you have a pre-existing psychological condition, such as suffering from trauma. Mindfulness is all about focusing on ourselves in great detail. This includes both positive and negative thoughts. It is also important to be cautious when practicing mindful movements so that we don’t over-exert or strain ourselves. I will discuss mindful movement later in this article.
Mindful Coffee or Tea Break
A good way to start practicing mindfulness is with a simple yet effective mindful exercise. I believe the mindful tea break is one of the simplest exercises you can begin with. For me, I use a tea break as I am not a coffee drinker, but both beverages can be used for this exercise.
This practice dates back to Ancient Zen Monasteries where they would have a dedicated tea room. I do not have a dedicated tea room or all the proper tea-making facilities. In my possession, I have a kitchen, a sofa, and a kettle. I also have tea and milk. I find these facilities sufficient to perform the practice.
Mindfulness is all about focusing on the present moment in great detail. Typically this involves engaging all, or as many of your senses as you can at the time and location available. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and at any time. If you do not have a kitchen available when you are practicing mindfulness you can always attempt another mindful activity.
This exercise involves focusing on the preparation, and the consumption of the beverage in great detail using as many of your senses as possible. Whilst the kettle is boiling you can focus on the sounds that you can hear, the feel of the materials you are preparing, and the aroma of their preparation.
Once your beverage has been prepared you can take yourself to a quiet space to continue to practice mindfully consuming your drink. Technically you can mindfully communicate with others as I am aware often beverage breaks are a social occasion. However, when first beginning I would recommend practicing this mindful activity in peace to focus on incorporating as many of your senses as possible. Mindful communication is an advanced technique and I would recommend practicing more straightforward techniques first. If the office kitchen is not the best place to practice, try it alone in your own home at first.
Another mindful activity that is relatively simple albeit time-consuming is mindful eating. Again, this is about appreciating your food with all, or as many of the senses as possible. I believe it is important to practice this exercise initially with a small food component.
When I first studied mindfulness our group was given a single raisin to appreciate for 20 minutes. 20 minutes may sound like a long time to consume a raisin, and it is, however it takes our brains 20 minutes to register that our appetite has been satiated. Mindless eating can give rise to several negative habits and consequences. To read more on mindful eating visit The Benefits of Mindful Eating (chloemephambsc.com)
I find mindful eating is impractical to perform at every meal and it does take practice. However, I have found that my eating habits have significantly changed since I started to practice eating mindfully.
As I mentioned in the introduction it is important to be cautious when practicing mindful movement. It is important to be cautious when performing any movement and be realistic about our capabilities. Mindfulness is not a competition with others, if anything it is about exercising our abilities and focusing on improving our personal best.
Mindfulness can be applied to any movement we make. For this article, I will use the example of a walk in the park. However, certain mindful movements are widely recognized to improve our mindful awareness. These are Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Yoga. When performing any of these mindful activities it is always important to be cautious, regardless of our experience level. Fortunately, these movements train the brain to be more mindful, but do require balance, poise, and focus.
If you are walking alone in a park or anywhere you can practice moving mindfully. I find that I can incorporate all of my senses into this mindful movement.
What is the climate like on your skin? Is it hot? Is there a breeze?
What can you smell? I often smell freshly cut grass or flowers.
What can you hear? Are there birds singing? Is someone mowing the grass?
What can you see? Is it crowded with people or are you alone? Are there trees or other signs of nature?
What can you taste? Do you still have the lingering taste of tea from your mindful beverage?
It is that simple, but it does require practice.
I will mention again that it is important to be compassionate with yourself when you are practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about expressing gratitude and being compassionate with yourself and others.
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