“I DON’T HAVE TIME”: If you have time to eat you have time for mindful practices.
The most common excuse for why people don’t include mindful practices into their daily lives is “I don’t have time”. In some ways, this is very true. Unfortunately, popular culture has conflated mindful practices with mediation. It is true that there is such a thing as mindful meditation, and that you would need to carve out some time out of your busy day to sit and meditate. However, I’m here to say that you can work your way to becoming mindful by just spending 30 seconds everyday practicing mindfulness. You can do this by bringing your keen observational skills to the daily activities already do.
Mindfulness just means that you are bringing focus to what is happening inside of you and what is happening outside of you. There is no right or wrong, there is only practice and improvement. Today, more than ever, our days are filled with us doing something, like driving from one place to another, or washing the dishes, eating or performing brain surgery. Often because we have to move from one activity to another, we forget to notice the mechanics, the feeling, and the intention behind our actions. With activities like eating or brushing your teeth; that are a habit, you can turn it into a moment of mindful practice. This doesn’t mean slowing down, it just means you are just bringing awareness to your 5 senses (see, hear, touch, taste, smell), 6 if you count thought. Just like the muscles we use to lift, there is no end to how strong it can be, but just a mere constant improvement of strength. And just like how we need to constantly workout to maintain our muscles’ strength, our minds can become less mindful if we don’t continually practice.
30 seconds of mindful practice can help you destress, re-focus, and feel more rested. Different from meditation, quick mindful practices don’t give you enough time to feel the frustration that sometimes comes with traditional sitting meditation. The hardest part about the 30 second mindful practice is remembering to do it. The best way is to practice while doing something you do every day like drinking coffee or eating your meals. If that doesn’t work find an accountability buddy, like your children or your spouse. Kids are great at reminding adults to do something, and you can even make it so you remind each other and have it be a family practice.
So next time you tie yours shoes, eat a meal, drink tea, clean the toilet, or wash your hair; take 30 seconds to be mindful and start by being aware of your activity, observe closely what you see, hear, smell, taste, or think. You make these observations as if you are a scientist on the brink of discovering something new–Only you don’t know what the new thing is.