Meditation is the ultimate multitasker. It clears your mind, may help lower blood pressure and relieve depression and anxiety, and could even reduce the severity of IBS symptoms.
And you don’t need to convert your guest room into a crystal-adorned Zen Den to get these benefits. You can focus your mind on the present anytime—during a workout, at happy hour with friends, or even while brushing your teeth.
Really, it’s this easy: Just home in on what you see, hear, smell, and feel. Take these 15 opportunities to sneak in a jolt of mindfulness, even during the craziest of days.
While drinking your morning cup.
Feel the warmth of the mug in your hands, inhale the strong scent, and savour each comforting sip as it goes from lips to mouth to throat to belly. Another perk: Mindful coffee drinkers are more likely to stop adding sugar to their cup, according to one study
While getting dressed
As you open a drawer or pull a hanger off the rod, pay attention to your movements, the smell of freshly laundered (or, umm, not) clothes, and the sensation of the material against your skin. You gain a mindful moment and diminish the stress that happens when you’re rushing around in the a.m.
While taking a shower
Sudsing up is a sensory experience, which makes it an ideal setting for practicing mindfulness. Focus on the water temperature, the scent of your new shampoo, and the sound of the water as it whooshes down and hits the tiles.
When you’re walking around
As you stroll the farmers market, take occasional peeks skyward. Looking up can put you in the moment and trigger new perspectives (like, trying a new kind of veggie).
While putting on your makeup
Think of each stroke of the brush, swipe of mascara, or pass lipstick as a single activity. Breaking down your beauty routine in this way can help focus your brain before it’s inundated with a day’s worth of work deadlines and funny cat videos.
While cooking a meal
As you stir or chop, notice the rhythm of the spoon or knife. Inhale the scents of the dish you’re whipping up. People who get into creative activities like cooking report feeling calmer and happier the next day.
Whenever you climb stairs
Count the steps as you ascend, feeling your foot land on each one. Note the coordinated effort of your muscles working together. You’re going up, but the cadence can be grounding.
When someone compliments you.
Instead of defaulting to self-deprecation, absorb the good vibes. Receiving praise positively may even help the brain remember and repeat new skills.
Focus on your muscles and their movements. Mindful exercising can “put you in the zone,” the mental state that sparks peak performance.
When you’re going to sleep
Mentally scan your body from toes to scalp, noting every sensation; if distracting thoughts sneak in, refocus on the body. This clears the clutter in your mind and physically relaxes you, so it’s easier to fall asleep.