I started learning about mindfulness in a religion class several years ago. The textbook described this idea of closely paying attention to what was happening or what you were experiencing right at that moment. In other words, your mind is focused on what you are doing and experiencing with your senses: sight, touch, sound, taste, smell. For example, if you are washing dishes, focus on the feel of the warm water, the smell of the soap, and the texture of the pan.
According to Mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing…”
That week, I tried to be present and focused on my activities. When I ironed clothes, I focused my attention on the heavy iron, the steam, the cloth. When I cooked dinner, I paid attention to the vegetable, the knife, the cutting board and the sound of chopping. I realized how peaceful I felt. It was so calming to not think of anything else besides what I was doing at that moment.
“Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.” (Mindful.org)
I noticed that the more I practiced being mindful, the more appreciative and grateful I became. When I ironed clothes, I realized that I have clothes to wear. When I cooked or did dishes, I appreciated the food I just enjoyed.
Practicing mindfulness has been one of those things that has transformed my life. If you are interested in learning more, this link is a good place to start!