The Wise Open Mind

Your path of self transformation.

How Mindfulness Can Improve Everyday Chores

Learn three steps to enrich your life through mindfulness

I would like to share with you an excerpt from an article Stephanie Stephens interviewed me for in Bottom Line Natural Healing on how mindfulness can make daily chores more rewarding.

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, here are three mindful steps from my book, Wise Mind Open Mind.

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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 your creativity and intuition. The dishes are clean—and you feel better for having washed them.

Ronald Alexander, Ph.D., is the director of the OpenMind Training Institute, and teaches at UCLA, Pepperdine, and Pacifica Graduate Institute.

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