I’ve been asked a lot about mindfulness, what it is and how one can become more mindful and practice mindfulness on a daily basis! I came up with a very simple and easy 5 day plan to help you start your mindfulness journey during this Eid vacation.
Before I share the plan with you, I’d like to briefly introduce you to the concept of mindfulness.
Simply, mindfulness is all about ‘being’ present. It’s when you’re fully aware of your present moment; your breath, your body, your feelings, your emotions, your senses, your surroundings, everything that is present with you at the moment.
It allows you to experience life differently and more deeply with all your senses, You begin to explore and notice beauty everywhere and you become more aware of what’s happening inside of you and around you without any judgments! So it’s basically living with a child’s mind.
To practice mindfulness, you don’t really have to lock yourself in a room and meditate; Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at any given time. Yes, it’s that simple!
So now back to our 5 day plan, I’ve chosen a couple of easy exercises for you to explore the power of mindfulness without the need to sit and meditate.
For five days, we will be doing one act/exercise of mindfulness per day.
Day 1: MINDFUL INTERACTION
Eid is a good time for us to spend more time with friends and families, we get to interact a lot with our loved ones. What we really want this eid, is to make this interaction meaningful, to really be there with them, with our bodies, our souls, our minds and all of us!
So for your first day, you wake up in the morning and you make this promise to yourself that if you meet/hang out with someone, you will give them all your attention. You’ll listen carefully to the words they say, notice their feelings and emotions, their facial expressions, notice if their hands move while they talk, just try to be present with everything that is happening between you and the people you’re with.
Try to stay away from your phone or anything that might distract your presence.
It’s ok if you zone out, or catch your mind wandering, remember you’re still training your mind to be focused on the present. So simply bring your attention back to the person you’re interacting with.
Day 2: MINDFUL WALKING
Today try to go out for 10-20minutes in a peaceful and quiet space. (If you can’t go out, you can do it indoors).
As you begin, walk at a natural pace, do not control the way you move. Pay attention to your legs, the lifting, and falling of your foot, the ground you’re walking on, notice how your body moves as you walk.
If you decide to walk in the morning, feel the sun touching and warming your skin.
Then shift your attention to the sounds around you, what can you hear? What sounds are there? Listen carefully to what your ears can hear, without any judgments, just recognize the sounds and how it feels in your ears and that’s it 🙂
Now bring your attention to what your eyes can see, enjoy the colors, the shapes, the beauty, without any judgments.
Also, try to bring attention to your sense of smell, don’t force yourself to smell or feel anything, let it just happen naturally. You only bring your attention and notice.
Keep your walking pace natural, and if you catch yourself daydreaming or fighting thoughts from the past or future, just bring your attention back to where you are, to your body and all the sensations that you feel while walking.
Day 3: UNPLUG
Social media has been attacking our peace of mind for years now. It completely distracts us from the present, it doesn’t allow us to pay attention to the ones we love or the beauty that surrounds us!
So for today, we’ll stay offline for as long as we can, with a minimum of one hour.
And take that as an opportunity to connect with your loved ones, or to start the plans you’ve been postponing for a while now, you can exercise or just do anything to nurture your mind, body and soul!
Most importantly whatever you decide to do, do it mindfully!
Day 4: MINDFUL EATING!
So for today, it’s all about the food you eat, this is not a diet plan or challenge, don’t worry!
For this mindful eating exercise, you’ll be paying attention to whatever you eat! You notice the colors of what you’re eating, the texture, the smell, the shape. Everything!
And once you put it in your mouth, and before you swallow it, notice how it feels in your mouth, the taste and the texture.
Once you swallow, pay attention to the sensations you feel as it moves from your mouth all the way down to your tummy!
So a quick example, if you decide to eat an orange before you peel it, notice the color, smell, shape, and texture. Then once peeled, notice if the texture changes, the color, the smell and so on. Just feel everything without any judgments!
Day 5: SUNSET WATCHING!
How many sunsets have we missed before! So I decided to end our Mindfulness experience together with a true moment of magic, to give us a chance to experience it mindfully and hence, never miss it again!
Today, plan to go out in an outdoor space during sunset. Close your eyes, take a deep and long breath, then open your eyes, look at the sky and pay attention to how the sum moves, and how the clouds look like, notice the different colors in the sky and how they keep changing as the sun goes down.
Let that change in colors and the beauty in front of your eyes nourish your heart and soul.
Few tips and reminders:
it’s okay if thoughts from the past or future decide to visit your mind while you’re practicing mindfulness. It happens! Just recognize whatever thought you get, and bring back your attention to whatever you’re doing/experiencing in the present.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re training your mind and it needs time!
Approach this 5 days of mindfulness, with no expectations, just allow yourself to experience it as it is.
There’s no right or wrong! Everyone’s experience is different!
Always, a child’s mind! No judgments, whatsoever.