The practise of living mindfully
Mindfulness exercises can be divided into:
# Activity based exercises
# Observational exercises
Both types of exercise can be undertaken in groups or on your own.
Typical activity-based mindfulness practises include:
- Physical exercises e.g. Tai Chi
- Undertaking routine household/domestic chores
- Undertaking outdoor tasks e.g. gardening, clearing land, raising crops
Typical observational mindfulness exercises include:
- Body awareness and deep relaxation
- Sitting meditation
- Mindful silence (aka noble silence)
- Mindful listening
Easy Mindfulness Exercises
You will find a series of articles, on mindfulness activities, written by monastic members of Thich Nhat Hanh's community (called "Plum Village") here: Art of Mindful Living
You can download a short document here on:
6 practices based on the work of Eckhart Tolle.
You can also download a series of exercises extracted from "The Miracle of Mindfulness" by Thich Nhaht Hanh:
Mindfulness activities from Thich Nhaht Hanh.
Mindfulness Exercises In Practise
In my own experience, there is a great benefit in undertaking some of these mindfulness practises with other people who are doing the same practise. This might be just one other person or as part of wider practise group.
There is a stronger energy to the activity if is undertaken with others and this can be very encouraging and helpful in your own practise of mindfulness.
However, the real work is done on your own and this largely falls into two categories:
 Formal mindfulness practise
The formal practise - which I have outlined in detail in
"How to practise mindfulness" where you apply regular focused attention to one or two mindfulness exercises at a time, until you have mastered them, and they have become habits. As with the acquisition of any new skill, this requires self discipline, persistence and consistence:
"Just be mindful - focus your attention, focus your mind, 100% on whatever it is that you are doing right now - in this present moment."
 Mindfulness integration practise
The second category is what I call "integration practise", and this is when you take your newly acquired mindfulness skills and consciously apply them at different times of the day.
This may be "situation specific" practise when for example you get into a frequently occurring situation such as heavy traffic, or an interaction with a partner or work colleague who irritates you.
Applying mindfulness in relationship situations can be very instructive and very powerful, and over time can change negative and destructive aspects of some relationships.
The other type of integration practise I use is what I refer to as "state specific" - this is where I mindfully monitor my internal states throughout the day.
This practise is very instructive as I used to find it quite surprising to see just how repetitive my thought patterns and emotional states actually are. Then, applying mindfulness to the negative states helped me (and still helps me) to become "unstuck" or unidentified with them quite quickly.
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