When you think of meditation and mindfulness, what comes to mind? A calm afternoon on retreat, perhaps, or a mountain cabin vacation.
But mindfulness should be an everyday practice, not just something that happens when conditions are right. The Zen master and Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh said that you can practice mindfulness anywhere, whether it’s on your commute, at the grocery store, or in a crowd.
One of his suggestions is to make use of the sounds you hear, even if they’re not particularly pleasant. A church bell or a baby crying on a plane both provide opportunities to reflect and tune into your surroundings, rather than block them out.
Conscious breathing, where you focus on each breath in and out, is another useful technique. Try reciting a few lines to yourself, such as “Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile.” It may sound silly, but this simple practice can ease anxiety and improve your focus.
Learn more about everyday mindfulness with our Instaread on Peace Is Every Step.