Mindfulness has become something of a buzzword lately. You hear about mindful meditation and mindful eating. You could probably stick the word mindful in front of just about any activity and it would instantly seem better, healthier and infinitely more Pinnable.
The basic idea of mindfulness is simple. It’s about being actively aware of what’s going on in the present moment by observing your feelings and thoughts, with distance and without judgement. Mindfulness meditation can improve cognitive function and working memory, quell anxiety and boost creativity.
Simple as the concept is, the idea of actually being more mindful, or going whole hog and starting a mindfulness practice can seem downright intimidating.
But it doesn’t have to be. And this mindfulness trick, from David Cox, chief medical officer at Headspace, the go-to mindful meditation app, proves it. He calls it walking mindfully, or practicing mindfulness while you walk, and that’s literally all it is.
“It’s a nice period of time when otherwise you might be distracted or lost in thought,” he says. “So even if you don’t have time to sit for a formal meditation, you can do this once or twice a day.”
Here’s how you do it.
Step one: Pick a route that you walk every day and make that your mindful mile.
For many of us that can be the walk to work—from home to the bus or subway, then from there to the workplace. Or maybe it’s the trip back from dropping the kids at school, or taking your dog out twice a day. It doesn’t have to be long. Even a five-minute walk twice a day will give you enough time to really get into it.
Freddie Marriage / Unsplash
If you don’t walk daily (you should start, but that’s a different article), you can use these same techniques while doing other regular tasks, such as cooking and cleaning. There just has to be a repetitive component to it, like chopping, stirring, sweeping or scrubbing.
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