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10 Activities You Can Do More Mindfully During Your Day

10 Activities You Can Do More Mindfully During Your Day

So this whole mindfulness thing has really been popular as of late. There is a simple reason for that: it works. And from personal experience, it works well.

Perhaps you want to get started, but you tell yourself, or your busy mind tells you, that you just don’t have the time to sit around and meditate during the day. My first piece of advice is to take the time to observe your mind from an outside perspective and simply be in the moment. That is what meditation is all about. But this isn’t an article about meditation.

Despite what you think, meditating is not the only way to be mindful. My next piece of advice is to be mindful in your day-to-day activities. You can experience a meditative and mindful state merely by giving complete attention and awareness to the things you are doing in the present moment.

Maybe this sounds crazy to you, but it is entirely possible. It takes a lot of practice and patience to make it happen.

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How many times have you been doing something, your mind is on auto pilot, and before you know it you don’t even realize what you are doing? For many people this is a very common occurrence. It doesn’t have to be this way. By taking the time to really concentrate on what you are doing in the moment, you are being completely mindful. You are not giving into the other thoughts about the past and future that are popping in and out of your head; rather, you are content with what you are doing right now.

1. Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is often a difficult task to be attentive to because it is often the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do in the evening. When you first wake up your mind is completely focused on the daily tasks ahead, and when you are getting ready for bed, your mind is probably focused on the events from the day or getting to sleep. Often you are half-asleep in the evening when brushing.

Really take the time to look in the mirror and focus on brushing your teeth. Perhaps you can take the time to ensure each tooth gets brushed thoroughly. Don’t just rush through this activity. Start your day off mindfully and end it mindfully.

2. Taking a Shower

Showering can be an awesome experience if you take the time to relish it. Observe the warm water against your body and how good it feels. When you lather soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, or whatever, notice how great it feels to get cleaned up. Don’t take this activity for granted because most people in the world don’t get a warm shower!

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3. Cooking

Cooking can be a very therapeutic and mindful activity when you let go of everything else that is going on in your mind. Chopping vegetables, sautéing meat, stirring sauces, and even seasoning dishes can be done mindfully.
It is common for us to be so focused on finishing the meal that we forget to enjoy the process of making the meal. Don’t let this happen. Don’t rush through the cooking. Observe how harmonious your mind can be when you take the time to cook purposefully.

4. Eating

This is still difficult for me at times. I am so hungry at times that I can’t help myself from scarfing down the food in front of me, instead of mindfully eating it.

Put away the television and the cell phones, and give all your attention to eating. Don’t use this time as a means to get to the next activity. No, this is the current activity. Enjoy it.

Also, it is much healthier to eat mindfully. Eating slower is better for your digestion as well as your mind.

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5. Driving and Sitting in Traffic

Challenging as it might be, it behooves you to drive mindfully. It is much safer for yourself and everyone on the road if you are completely attentive to driving and not ruminating over some past event.

Sitting in traffic is often a cause of rage, frustration, and general discontentment. Here’s an idea: try something different. If you usually get ticked off when sitting in traffic, try just being present with the traffic. Don’t let your mind veer you to an imagined scenario where you can’t be late or the world is going to end. Just chill. It is going to be OK. I’m not suggesting you have to be completely appreciative of the traffic, but you can find ways to enjoy yourself by being more mindful as regards to being angrier.

6. Folding Laundry

I am not a fan of folding laundry. I admit that I find it difficult to be mindful during this activity, but it is possible. Focus on every piece of laundry that you fold. Pay attention to the way you fold every shirt, pants, underwear, etc.

It is easy to do other activities while folding laundry that can distract you away from the task at hand. Try turning everything else off as you fold each piece of laundry.

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7. Washing Dishes

Similar to folding laundry, give attention to each dish you wash. Don’t focus on the fact that you have a stack of dishes to wash. Concentrate on how the soap feels as you scrub away every knife, fork, spoon, etc. In an odd way it can be therapeutic as well.

8. Walking

Walking meditation is a common practice. When you are out in nature, focus on what you are seeing at the present moment. Be attentive of how your body feels as you take every step. Observe your breath, and how it changes as you walk faster and slower. Walking is an extremely effective method to adding more mindfulness to your daily life.

9. Shopping

The only time I enjoy shopping is when I can take my time and be mindful of everything I am looking it and purchasing. Too often people get in a rush when they are shopping. Shopping can be enjoyable if it is done at the proper pace and with an attentive attitude.

10. Reading

I don’t know how much can be absorbed if you don’t read mindfully, but there is a reason why people struggle to comprehend what they read. The mind likes to wander and focus on other things besides what you are reading at the moment. Give each word the full attention it deserves. Perhaps reading will become a more gratifying activity for you when you take the time to do it mindfully.

The activities that can be completed mindfully are certainly not limited to this list. You can live your entire day with mindful intention. All it takes is attention, awareness, and the intention to be as mindful as possible for each activity. As you learn to be more mindful implementing it into your daily life becomes easier.

Featured photo credit: Shannon via Joey and Ava cooking chili via Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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