Five Ideas for Practicing Mindfulness in Daily Life (2024)

Five Ideas for Practicing Mindfulness in Daily Life (1)

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has said that true confidence is synchronization of mind and body. This rings true for me, based on experience. I recently came away from a dathun (4 week meditation and mindfulness retreat), and when people ask me how theexperiencemade me feel, the best answer I could give them was, "confident." That might sound odd at first, but confidence most accurately describes the way I feel when I focus all of my energy on one thing at a time. When I can totally focus my mind, I'm not such a pushover. I feel unshakeable.

During dathunour teacher shared ideas about how to bring mindfulness into our daily lives, and I've continued to ponder this. This list includes some of my own ideas, but also borrows from Cara Thornley, who led thedathunI attended, and from Ani Pema Chodron.

1. Walkingwith the senses
Whether you are walking your dog or walking to work, this can be a good opportunity to practice. One way to do this is to pick one sense perception and to focus your mind on that sense. For example, as I'm going for a walk in the neighborhood, I may choose to place my attention on sounds. I can pay attention to the cars driving by, the birds chirping, the joggers running past me, people opening doors, etc.

2. Food prep
You could be mindful about handling food while cooking. In

How to Cook Your Life

, Zen Priest Edward Espe Brown suggests that you handle food as if you were handling your own eyeballs. Be gentle with food and put as much TLC as you can into preparing a meal.

Chopping vegetables is an activity that I find easy to be mindful about. I have really sharp knives and I've heard that Japanese master-blacksmiths believe a blade has its own soul. I'm not so sure about the notion of a soul in a knife, but respecting a blade is a good idea from the point of view of mindfulness and trying not to chop your finger-tips off. I like to focus on making the chops as uniform as possible. Sometimes I try to chop vegetables as finely as possible just for sake of being mindful and the satisfaction of thinly sliced carrots.

3. Water
Any time you touch water, you could work with this sense perception. In most day to day situations, water brings relaxation, so this is an easy one to start with. Feel the warmth of water all over your body in the shower. Feel its slipperiness when you are washing your hands. Feel the sensations while washing dishes. Just feel feel feel and focus the attention on it. Have confidence in the fact that feeling inside your body brings you into a the present moment, which is always the place where you should be.

Five Ideas for Practicing Mindfulness in Daily Life (2)

4. Using the Internet and watching television
Both the internet and television can help spread profound wisdom, but more often they seduce us into mindlessly vegging out. We could change this for ourselves, by being very intentional about how we use computers or television.

Approach TV and internet differently by having a plan before you turn them on. If you open a web browser, have a plan for looking something up or checking email and then leave it alone. If you find yourself thinking, "hmm, what could I look up," then try to catch yourself before you surf the overwhelming flood of information.

Obviously sites like Facebook are entirely predicated on the idea of tuning in just to see what is up. If you aren't ready to give up Facebook browsing (which i'm not), then you might consider having a plan for how long you are going to use Facebook. For example, you might login with a plan to use it for some amount of time that you think is reasonable.

5. Looking in the mirror
Mirrors are powerful symbols in Tantric Buddhism. They reflect an object without ego, but the twist is that the reflection is not actually the object. Now chew on that riddle for a while!

We could use mirrors to remind us to be gentle with ourselves and to be curious about our state of mind. Every time you look in the mirror, you could ask yourself how you are feeling. You could then apply mindfulness to recognize feeling, whether it is during a bathroom break at work, in a changing room, or when brushing your teeth.

The purpose of meditation is to learn to be present for our lives. The practice strengthens our ability to be mindful in our daily lives, which in turns leads to increased insight and better communication (just for starters). When we apply mindfulness to our daily lives, suddenly tasks like folding laundry or cleaning dishes become less of a chore. We begin to dissolve the separation between stuff we do that is fun, and stuff we do that we don't like. With this kind of practice and outlook, the path of mindfulness leads to a more fulfilling, joyful life.

When I started my month-long meditation, I immediately noticed that I was having trouble trusting the present moment. The idea that focusing 100% of my attention on what was going on at the moment seemed like a good idea, but some part of me was still attached to the idea that mentally, I needed to be doing other things. I spent the first couple of days composing blogs and working out spreadsheets in my head. Then I started to trust the present and let go of the discursive thoughts. I realized that whatever I need to do, I'm much more effective if I just set time aside to focus on it 100%.

By applying the five techniques above, we can practice being present for our lives. These moments will become meditation sessions in themselves. Eventually, you may find yourself "meditating" in some way for much of your life. Try these out and see what else you can add as your own personal mindfulness practices.

Five Ideas for Practicing Mindfulness in Daily Life (2024)


What are 5 ways I can practice mindfulness? ›

Some examples include:
  • Pay attention. It's hard to slow down and notice things in a busy world. ...
  • Live in the moment. Try to intentionally bring an open, accepting and discerning attention to everything you do. ...
  • Accept yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.
  • Focus on your breathing.

How do you practice mindfulness 5 senses? ›

Five Senses Exercise
  1. Notice five things that you can see. Look around you. ...
  2. Notice four things that you can feel. Tune in to your sense of touch. ...
  3. Notice three things you can hear. Listen carefully. ...
  4. Notice two things you can smell. Notice and name two smells you recognize.
  5. Notice one thing you can taste.
Apr 24, 2020

What are three 3 things that may be improved by practicing mindfulness? ›

Among its theorized benefits are self-control, objectivity, affect tolerance, enhanced flexibility, equanimity, improved concentration and mental clarity, emotional intelligence and the ability to relate to others and one's self with kindness, acceptance and compassion. But is mindfulness as good as advertised?

What are the 5 areas of mindfulness? ›

Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ)

The FFMQ (21) is a 39-item self-completed questionnaire measuring the five facets of mindfulness: Observing (8 items), Describing (8 items), Acting with awareness (8 items), Non-judgmental (8 items), and Non-reactive (7 items).

What are the 5 levels of mindfulness? ›

The five facets of mindfulness are observing, describing, acting with awareness, non-reactivity to inner experience and non-judging of inner experience. Observing involves an awareness of sensations, cognitions, emotions, sights, sounds and smells (Baer et al., 2006).

What is a real life example of mindfulness? ›

Focus on each part of your body

Sometimes done in combination with progressive muscle relaxation, a common example of mindfulness in everyday life is doing a body assessment. This includes paying attention to any physical sensation methodically, focusing on each part of the body, one at a time.

How can I practice mindfulness all the time? ›

Be More Mindful: 7 Tips to Improve Your Awareness
  1. Meditate. Taking even just 5 minutes to sit quietly and follow your breath can help you feel more conscious and connected for the rest of your day.
  2. Focus On One Thing At A Time. ...
  3. Slow Down. ...
  4. Eat Mindfully. ...
  5. Keep Phone and Computer Time In Check. ...
  6. Move. ...
  7. Spend Time In Nature.

What are the 5 things you can see mindfulness activities? ›

How to do 5-4-3-2-1 grounding
  • Look around and name five things that you can see around you. ...
  • Focus on four things that you can feel. ...
  • Name three things that you can hear around you. ...
  • Notice two things that you can smell around you right now. ...
  • Focus on one thing that you can taste.
Jan 10, 2022

What is the rule of 5 mindfulness? ›

It involves identifying 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. By doing so, it helps shift your focus from anxiety-provoking thoughts to the present moment.

What are the 5 R's of mindfulness? ›

A five-part plan to becoming more consciously aware of one's monkey-mind: relabel, reattribute, refocus, revalue, re-create.

What are the 5 steps of mindfulness? ›

Five Steps to Mindfulness
  • Set Aside Time. It can be useful to designate a short amount of time to sit in meditative silence. ...
  • Minimize Distractions. Because intense focus is central to practicing mindfulness, distractions need to be minimized. ...
  • Breathe Deeply. ...
  • Eat Mindfully. ...
  • Practice Gratitude.
Sep 17, 2015

How to become more mindful in your everyday life? ›

Engage each of your senses, paying close attention to what you can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. Try "single-tasking," bringing your attention as fully as possible to what you're doing. Allow any thoughts or emotions that arise to come and go, like clouds passing through the sky.

What are the 7 attitudes of mindfulness? ›

What are the 7 Principles of Mindfulness?
  • Non-judgment. It's common to hear we should be non-judgmental of others. ...
  • Beginner's Mind. The beginner's mind may be a familiar concept, as it's used in other areas as well. ...
  • Trust. ...
  • Non-striving. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Acceptance/Acknowledgement. ...
  • Letting Go/Letting Be.

What are the 5 S's of mindfulness? ›

Try the 5 S's

Sit, slow down, savor, simplify, and smile: These are the basic tenets of mindful eating, and with some practice, they'll become second nature before you know it. "Sit down when you eat," advises Albers.


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