You Don’t Need to Meditate to Practice Mindfulness
You don’t need to meditate to practice mindfulness. Some people misperceive mindfulness as a zen state or an emptying of the mind.
In reality, mindfulness is a focused attention on the present moment.
So, when we are mindless, we might drive home from work and totally forget our commute and zone out. When we are mindful, we pay attention to every detail of the commute.
We feel the wind on our face if the windows are down. We feel our hands on the steering wheel. We remember street names and signs. We recognize the sounds of cars passing.
The more you practice paying attention to the present moment, the stronger your mindfulness muscles become.
My favorite ways to practice are mindfulness walks or mindful eating. When you get distracted, bring your attention back to the present moment and focus on whatever activity you are doing.
The payoff of practice is that when our mindfulness muscles are strong, we know what’s unfolding in front of us and we can be strategic with our responses, instead of being reactive.
Practicing mindfulness puts you back in the driver’s seat of your experience. Test out these three ways you can practice mindfulness without meditation:
3 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Without Meditation
1. Mindful Walk
Take a mindfulness walk by engaging all of the 5 senses. Notice what it feels like for your feet or shoes to hit the pavement and your weight shift in your shoes with each step.
Notice what you can see, hear, and smell in the environment. Feel the temperature and movement of the air around you. When you get distracted in your thoughts, come back to observing your surroundings with the 5 senses.
2. Mindful Meal
Sit down to eat without any distractions or multitasking. Before you start to eat, notice how your food looks, smells and feels. Then eat slowly and intentionally, noticing the layers of taste and texture as you chew your food. Notice when you start to feel full or satisfied.
3. Mindful Shower
In the shower we’re often planning the day ahead, listening to music or media content, or lost in thought. Try being in the present moment as you shower by engaging the 5 senses.
Feel the water falling on your skin, notice the smell of your soap and how it lathers on your washcloth. When you get distracted in your thoughts, come back to observing your surroundings with the 5 senses.