Another way to practice mindfulness in everyday life is to practise self-commentary (still trying to find a better term to describe it), now this one might feel a bit strange and made me laugh about myself and the situation quite a few times but it helps you focus on one task at a time and gets you to slow down, and laughing more always is an added bonus.
The idea is that you comment every single step in a specific task, either in your head or out loud (depending on how comfortable you feel and how people around you react). Something easy to start with is making tea, a little harder is cooking a meal.
An example would be: I want to make myself a tea so I am walking into the kitchen. I am filling the kettle with water and switching it on to boil. I open the cupboard to my right with my right hand and take out my blue mug with the cat on it and place it on the counter, I am opening another cupboard and choosing the tea I want to drink. I choose the chai tea…
The more detailed you do it, so more you break down a task into steps, the more it forces you to slow down and look at what you are actually doing. I find this exercise helpful when I find myself feeling overwhelmed, which often happens when I try to do several things at once while thinking about all the other things that still need to be done.
So many of the things we do everyday have become automated processes we no longer think about- walking somewhere or taking something out of the fridge. This has its benefits, it helps us get learnt procedures done more efficiently and somethings we don’t need to think about anymore, how to read for example. On the other hand, doing so many things on autopilot often leaves us feeling stressed, especially when we try to tackle several tasks at once, and at the end of the day we often can’t remember all the things we did, because our attention was elsewhere.
Once again you don’t have to go around and comment your way through your entire day, but rather choose one or two activities you want to give your complete undivided attention to for a few minutes.
And maybe someone reading this has a better term for this?