Whilst practicing mindfulness proficiently may mean becoming armed with a good depot stocked with mindfulness theory, a good dosage of meditation practice, as well as regular ongoing mindfulness-based routines, just like any other gym workout, awareness and focus practice alone, will not change your life but will rather act as preparation to run the life, work, exams or everyday ‘marathons’ and ‘sprint’ of life.
As such, it will not pay dividend even to the most consistent, driven and practice-attuned meditator if all their practice is on the mat, stool or still with their eyes closed in their quiet spot, meditation hall or mindfulness class. On the contrary, it may lead them to practising only in ‘compartments’ and, therefore, not transferring their practice to everyday life.
On a positive note, therefore, this means that doing small, quick practices, can have a hugely important impact on mindfulness learning and practice and for those who can’t initially commit to a full 16-hours course, it can offer the opportunity to start where it’s easiest with some quick tips. So, as most reputable and accredited courses and teachers would recommend small mindfulness practices, also known as ‘habit-breakers’ or ‘habit-releasers, will form an essential (not optional!) part of effective mindfulness practice and, in this article,
I would like to share a list of Keeping It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) list of ideas and tips for everyday life and invite you to invite yourself to try each one of them out every day for a week. I first heard of the K.I.S.S. approach from a really inspirational speaker, TV personality, presenter and quantum physicist called Gemma Godfrey who is brilliant at conveying really complex messages in a really accessible manner.
Before moving onto the tips, I wish to offer you a very basic theoretical aspect of mindfulness: to get it ‘right’, we keep coming back to any currently happening sensory input (any sound, taste, smell, tactile sensation, sight you can anchor your attention to, bathe with, tune into, at any ‘right now!’ moment in your day….even for a split second at the time).
With this in mind, just an invite to K.I.S.S. it simple for this week and try one of the following each day, as often as you can:
- Every now and then, take one, breadth, on purpose. Feel the sound it makes in the nostrils, the sensation of the tummy and chest inflating and deflating and really take it in. So, perhaps you are drafting that email to that really demanding customer at high speed, you are about to click ‘send’ – and just stop and take the breadth. Or, you may be in a meeting (thinking about something else) so again, come back to the room, with one breadth (all the following, can be applied in the above and any other circumstances);
- Feel your buttocks (as you read this perhaps!) on the chair and the tactile sensations of the clothes, the temperature and any how any movement feels if you decide to adjust your position (you may need to do that right now as you read this!)
- When you walk become aware of how your body feels like, even if you are walking to the photocopier so not to waste any opportunity to go from thoughts, planning and your head, back into your body, back to the here and now.
- When typing (I am doing that right now), from time to time, become aware of the sounds the keyboard makes and the sensations of the keys under the fingers (hot, cold, smooth…?)
- When work gets busy or stressful, write down one thing you are grateful for, today in your life, on a stick-it note and stick it at the corner of your screen.
- When walking out of the office, pay attention to the transition and sensations from the office environment, to the outside world. Then, take one longer breadth and feel it.
- When you have a cup of tea, coffee or equally a cold drink, hold the cup/can/glass in both hands and even for a few seconds, really take in the temperature and notice how your body prepares to receive it (e.g. notice changes in saliva in your mouth) and when drinking it, pay full attention to the taste, even for one second only (preferably longer!)
So, wishing you a wonderful week of many informal opportunities, I shall leave you to K.I.S.S. it for a week and notice how this helps you to choose your distractions more mindfully