Do you rush through chores, distracting yourself by thinking about other things? What if you took a different approach to a chore such as washing the dishes? What if you slowed down and immersed yourself in the sensory experience of being at the sink? Many people are surprised to discover that they can enrich their lives by becoming more mindful throughout the day.
Mindfulness is good for our health because it relaxes us and helps to reduce stress. To transform even the most mundane chore like dishwashing into a more meaningful experience, our editors spoke with Ronald Alexander, PhD, a clinical psychotherapist who is executive director of the OpenMind Training Institute in Santa Monica, California, and author of Wise Mind, Open Mind: Finding Purpose & Meaning in Times of Crisis, Loss & Change. Here is what you need to know…
Focus on what you’re doing.Taking dishwashing as an example, use your senses. Notice how heavy each pot feels… how the water feels on your skin. Breathe deeply while you work. Look on the kitchen countertop, and take pleasure in the small things around you—a vase that you picked out on a trip or a spice that you especially like.
Feel curious, feel alive. Being engaged in what you’re doing with all your senses makes any task seem less tedious. You are open to what’s around you… you feel curious… and you feel alive.
Free your mind from stressful thoughts. When you heighten your senses in this way, you may find yourself in a state of pleasant concentration, which is called being “in the flow.” In this mind-set, it is difficult to have unpleasant thoughts. This kind of “awareness” also enhances