How Being Mindful While Making Coffee Can Transform Your Life
You don’t have to sit down at a certain time each day to be mindful. The beauty of mindfulness is that it is a way of living that you can use throughout the day. Simply pay attention to whatever you are doing at that moment and you be practicing mindfulness.
Being mindful in everyday life involves focusing your attention on the present moment. This can be during any day-to-day activity and doesn’t have to be restricted to meditation practice.
In this post, I’ll be explaining what mindfulness is, be benefits of being mindful, and how you can use it easily every day. And as you’ll see shortly, how being mindful while making coffee can change your life.
What is mindfulness?
As Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) put it:
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.”Jon Kabat-Zinn
Paying attention on purpose, in the present moment
It’s surprising (when you become more mindful) how often you live your life on autopilot. Before I started to be more mindful, a classic example for me was the coffee run at work.
It would usually begin by walking to the coffee area completely zoned out, running through a to-do list in my head. If a dragon had flown by one of the windows, I probably wouldn’t have been aware of it.
Then at the coffee station, the autopilot would continue, occasionally punctuated by “hey, how are you?… Yeah, things are really busy,” if I saw someone I recognized (and probably didn’t know their name, because I was never paying attention).
Now let’s rewind that, and do it again mindfully.
I walk to the coffee station paying attention to every sensation; how my feet feel on the ground and in my shoes, how the clothes feel against my body. If I remember something I need to do urgently, I don’t react, I mindfully respond to the thought. If it’s really important, I’ll make a note, or email myself so I can remember later.
At the coffee station, I’m now paying attention, on purpose in the present moment to the routine of making coffee. If bump into a person I know, I will mindfully pay attention to that person, and the conversation. That person will probably notice that I am actively listening, and that will build my personal and professional relationships with them.
When I come back to my desk, I felt a greater sense of calm and focus, I had just built a better working relationship with a colleague in the office, and I had an email to remind me of an urgent task.
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Doing this all non-judgementally
Do you want to know who’s your biggest critic, and probably the one person causing most of the problems and blockers in your life? Go look in the mirror and say hi to them.
When we first start practicing mindfulness, we normally start noticing two things:
How often your mind wanders
How alien some of the thoughts can feel.
You will be shocked by some of your thoughts. It happens (I’m pretty sure) to the nicest of us. Mindfulness practice isn’t about judging those thoughts, it’s about noticing them and then coming back to the present moment.
Are mindfulness and meditation the same thing?
This has been one of the most asked questions. The popularity of “Mindfulness meditation” in recent times has mashed the two concepts together. Hopefully, I can do the explanation some justice.
Meditation is an umbrella term for the practice of focusing on improving yourself. There are lots of different ways to meditate and mindfulness meditation practice is one of the categories of meditation.
Mindfulness doesn’t need to be in structured practice. It can be done at any time throughout the day with no specific start or end to it. It simply being mindful of what you are doing in the present moment.
You can be mindful when you eat, while you’re walking, or during a conversation. It’s the practice of noticing and being aware when your mind has wandered and brought it back to the present moment.
Tips for everyday activities that can be done mindfully
Brushing your teeth: Start your day right with some mindful tooth brushing. Pay attention to every motion, from opening the cupboard, putting the toothpaste on the brush, and brushing of teeth. You’ll be like a child with a new toy when you experience mundane sensations like brushing your teeth as a new experience.
Making a hot beverage: I never miss a morning coffee, and the title of this blog just tells you how important my morning mindful coffee is to me. If you’re not a coffee person, then this could be tea, juice, or a large glass of water. Again just be mindful of each step of making and drinking your beverage. Use as many senses as you can to keep it interesting. If you have any thoughts about the future, or you ruminate about the past, gently bring your attention back to the task at hand.
Walking: When I suggest walking meditations I either get a raised brow because people weren’t aware that you can meditate when you walk, or that it has to be this rigid long walk where meditation is the only intention. I try to be mindful with every step I take, even if it’s just to be aware of the sensations of my feet in my shoe.
The commute: Traveling to work isn’t something that many people enjoy (try sitting on the London Underground for an hour). Whether you are driving or standing on a crowded platform, taking a few deep breaths and being mindful of your surroundings can completely transform the experience. If something causes you stress or disturbs your calm, just be mindful of what has caused it. Try not to immediately react to it. Just be aware that it’s upsetting you and return to your mindfulness practice.
Avoid social media first thing: Jay Shetty, a former monk, and author said something during an interview that stuck with me. I struggle to find the exact quote (leave a comment if you find it please!) but it was along the lines of; You wouldn’t let 100 people into your bedroom first thing in the morning, but when we look at our phone first thing, we are letting 100 people’s opinions into our minds.
Social media is the autopilot demon. It puts us in that distracted mindset that affects everything we do in daily life. It is considered the root cause of the surge in modern-day mental health problems. I enjoy Instagram and YouTube as much as anyone, but I make it a rule not to be the first thing, and I make it an effort not to constantly check any of the feeds.
Shower or bath: How many times have you forgotten to wash the conditioner out of your hair? If it’s happened that’s most likely because you weren’t showering mindfully. Next time you shower or bathe, practice mindfulness on the body and the act of washing. It’s a great stress reliever after a hard day.
Mindful eating: This was a game-changer for me. I eat fast. Really fast (not in a gross hungry animal kind of way). I think this relates to my early life when I worked in a family business, and lunch was when there were no customers in the store. So if I wanted to eat my chicken sandwich hot, I had to eat it quickly.
Mindful eating is a free pleasure, that’s easy to do and is really good for your health and weight.
When you eat, take your time and try to truly focus on the food. How it tastes, the texture, the aroma, and one that most people don’t comment on – how you feel.
Before you sleep: Sleep is probably one of the most important pillars of our mental and physical health and well-being. I suffered from clinical insomnia for several years and the effects were felt throughout the day. It significantly affected my mental health until I started a sleep program. A key to my recovery was to practice mindful meditation in the morning and at night.
Now before I sleep, I either practice a mindful body scan meditation or a mindful counting meditation. The purpose of both of these meditations is to focus the mind so we don’t ruminate about the past or worry about the future before we sleep.
Mindful conversations: The phrase active listening never really made sense to me until I learned mindful listening. Poor listening skills affected my personal and professional life because I was impatient. I had my answer ready before the other person had finished speaking.
If you want true happiness in your relationships, practice mindful listening.
Just spending a few minutes practicing mindfulness each day can improve your physical health and mental health. Mindfulness is a way of life and not something that has to be restricted to meditation practice. You can be mindful in all activities in daily life just by being aware of the present.
Have you got any more tips on how to be mindful? let me know in the comments.