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Mindfulness is Doing What You’re Doing

Really.  It’s as simple as that.  And as complex.  Mindfulness is not necessarily setting aside time in your busy day to meditate.  It is about being present and aware during the moments in which you are living your life.

The challenge is to bring a sense of calm, centered awareness to everyday life.  This includes times when you are angry, in an argument, feeling pressure, stuck in traffic, mowing the lawn, watching TV, working, talking on the phone, emptying the dishwasher, thinking about times you’ve been hurt, avoiding problems or eating.

Some activities don’t require a lot of extra effort to bring a sense of calm and awareness.  But others, such as difficult interactions and painful thoughts are hard to be mindful of.  These are the times when mindfulness in daily life can feel complex.

Try this:

  • Choose a routine daily activity, say washing the dishes or making the bed.  As you do the activity, ask yourself what you are doing?  How many times have you done it?  What does it take, to do this activity?  What are your hands and body doing?  Where is your mind and thoughts?  Who is involved in this activity?  Why?
  • Notice if you slip into automatic pilot, completing the activity while lost in thoughts about something else entirely. Bring your mind back to the physical sensations of what you are doing.  Act with intention.  Wash the dishes to wash them.  Don’t rush to get the task done, focus on being fully present as you do it.
You can find more strategies to improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.
Mindfulness is Doing What You’re Doing

Christy Matta, MA

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APA Reference
Matta, C. (2012). Mindfulness is Doing What You’re Doing. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 6 Jul 2012
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