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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

More by this author

Mike Oppland

Mike is the Creator of Carpe Diem Motivation. He aspires to inspire individuals who are seeking a little extra boost in their lives.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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