INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE, INSANE IN THE BRAIN
Finding joy in the mundane & stress filled days

In light of #WellnessWednesday and @draunna (Aunna Pourang, MD)’s initiative #MindfulMed , today’s focus is mindfulness. Rather than share the broader efforts I make to achieve this, I am going to share one of my more narrow methods. Specifically, I will share with you how I achieve mindfulness when I’m running around in a suit! So, if you tend to have a hectic schedule that doesn’t always allow you to set aside a gap of the day to meditate, this might be useful for you too! Please feel free to share and hashtag #LivingThePhDream !

As a business professional/student, I’ve grown accustomed to living the generic “business lifestyle”. I’m sure you’re all familiar with what this looks like but here’s a snapshot: big cities, suits, meetings, coffee, the running around & all on top of going to school. So, as one might conclude, I’m very much a stressed out Type A business woman.

As I’ve talked about in previous posts, I have transformed my lifestyle to better maintain my mind, body, & soul so that I could enjoy even the most stress-filled moments. I mean, let’s face it, life isn’t perfect and it never will be. There will be good days and bad days but how we react to it is what makes all the difference.

One way I try to improve my mindfulness is through meditation. But, sometimes I simply do not have enough time to sit alone for 15 minutes or more! This is when I have to apply meditation in my regular activities.

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MEDITATION IN EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES 101
(My short “How To” turn daily activities into a mindfulness exercise) 

Check this out too: 12 Myths About Meditation

  1. Choose a brief daily activitysomething that you repeatedly do that the task itself is now done subconsciously. (i.e. brushing your teeth, making coffee/tea, making your bed, putting on your makeup, tying your shoes, putting your clothes on, etc.) There are so many times during the day where we do something without actually realizing what we are doing! Our mind wanders into other things: While I brush my teeth I might think, “What time is it? Good. I have five minutes until…” I don’t actually think, “I’m putting on the toothpaste. Turn on the faucet…” This time, we are going to attempt to be mindful of solely the task at hand.
  2. Get rid of your distractions (i.e. your phone!) I know, that with today’s use of technology this can be hard for a lot of us but when you’re simultaneously checking emails and sipping your coffee, you’re not really being present. In fact, do you really notice the rich roast with each sip you take? I know sometimes I don’t.
  3. Be present by bringing your full awareness to the task–every single step of it. I love the example of how this works from the meditation book (Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg) so I’ll share it with you:”Perhaps you’ll want to make brewing the tea a meditative ritual. Slowly fill the kettle, listening to the changing tone of the water as the level rises, the bubbling as it boils, the hissing of steam, and the whistle of the pot. Slowly measure loose tea into a strainer and place it in the pot, and inhale the fragrant vapor as it steeps. Feel the heft of the pot and the smooth receptivity of the cup.” “[…] reach for the cup. Observe its color and shape, and the way its color changes the color of the tea within it. Put your hands around the cup and feel its warmth. As you lift it, feel the gentle exertion in your hand and forearm. Hear the tea faintly slosh as you list the cup. Inhale the scented steam; experience the smoothness of the cup on your lip, the light mist on your face, the warmth slight scald of the first sip on your lips and tongue. Taste the tea; what layers of flavor do you detect? Notice any leaf bits on your tongue, the sensation of swallowing, the warmth traveling the length of your throat. Feel your breath against the cup creating a tiny cloud of steam. Feel yourself put the cup down.

The idea here is to be mindful of the present moment. When I did this, I realized that I grip my fists too tightly when I’m stressed. Noticing the present moment helped me to release that tension and to remember to breath in and out. With practice, this becomes very therapeutic and maybe even more enjoyable when performing the mundane activities! ❤

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