Researchers are finding that mindfulness meditation practices help people overcome many health related issues like stress, high blood pressure, heart disease, substance abuse and lots more. And they’re even finding that mindfulness practices help people enhance their mental capabilities such as abstract thinking, memory and creativity.
A simple mindfulness exercise can be experienced with yourself and a cup of tea just by following these steps.
Before you start, just a few things to remember:
Focus on the tea and remember you will become distracted in thoughts. When you notice that you do become distracted, just change your focus back onto what you were doing with the tea. And when you see yourself becoming distracted again, refocus back onto what you were doing with the tea.
Now your mind will be very quick to judge and have thoughts too. Like too hot, too cold, I can’t smell anything, Am I doing this right? This isn’t working for me! I can’t do this! This is taking too long!!
Simply observe what your mind is doing, and the judgments it is making, and realise that these thoughts are distractions. Simply refocus back onto the sensations.
Now let’s begin.
Make a cup of hot tea.
Hold the cup in both hands. Feel the warmth of the cup. Focus your attention onto the warmth you feel.
Now bring your face close to the cup and take a deep breath. Notice any warmth, steam or aroma.
Notice any sensation of what is happening inside your nose.
Now, place your lip on the edge of the cup, but don’t take a sip yet. Stay there for about 5 to 10 seconds.
Notice what is happening inside your mouth. Notice the feel of the cup against your lip.
Now, take a sip, don't swallow.
Hold the liquid in your mouth for at least 30 seconds. Focus on the sensations:
The taste – sweet, bitter, smoothness, hot, and when cooling to the temperature of your mouth. Notice what part of the tongue is being affected? Notice how the liquid moves around your mouth.
Feel the liquid moving in your oesophagus.
Now drink the remainder of the tea in a mindful way.
Think about what the experience felt like, and how much more you were able to gain by drinking the tea in a mindful way.
You can apply the same mindfulness in other parts of your life.
Like when you eat a meal
or are engaged in discussion with someone
or exercising or running.
It allows you to bring your attention to the moment and allows distracting thoughts to move away.
Practising something this simple over time will enable you to stay focused and present at the moment.
This is really helpful if you feel worried, sad or uncomfortable, or in pain.