Maybe you want the benefits of mindfulness, but you find it difficult to meditate. Your mind wanders or you feel uncomfortable sitting still. While you’re training yourself to meditate, there are other options you can try.
Ordinary tasks like housework can be an opportunity for practicing mindfulness. In fact, you may enjoy your chores more when you combine the two activities.
Bring more awareness to vacuuming and dusting. Start with these general principles and specific exercises for cleaning and contemplation.
General Principles for Mindful Housekeeping:
1. Slow down. Trying to rush through chores may create more stress. Budget enough time to do a thorough job. Relax and move deliberately.
2. Follow your breath. Pause for a few minutes of deep breathing before you break out the mop and bucket. See if you can create a natural rhythm that coordinates your actions with your breath.
3. Use both hands. Working with two hands is more efficient. As a bonus, using your nondominant hand is a powerful mental exercise because your brain has to think about what you’re doing.
4. Chant out loud. Mantras can help you stay focused. Choose a word or phrase from a scripture you love or any inspirational reading.
5. Engage your senses. Participate fully in your work. Pay attention to the scent of freshly washed sheets and the texture of your cleaning cloths. Listen to the hum of your robotic vacuum and notice the sparkling surfaces on your steel appliances.
6. Go natural. It makes sense to avoid toxic chemicals while you’re purifying your inner and outer environments. Browse online for information about natural cleaning methods and products. Discover how much you can accomplish with vinegar and baking soda.
7. Just clean. Be present for your activities. Let go of rehashing the past or planning for the future while you’re cleaning. Handle each object with care and take satisfaction in removing dirt and grime.
8. Look deeper. On the other hand, you may feel more creative. Be open to ideas that help you to see house cleaning as a spiritual practice.
Specific Exercises for Mindful Housekeeping:
1. Vacuum the rug. As you vacuum, imagine being able to vacuum your mind the same way you clean your carpet. What habits and self-limiting beliefs would you want to remove? What would your thoughts look like without such baggage?
2. Dust the shelves. It’s a myth that dust is mostly skin cells, but it can teach you about change. You may appreciate your present life more when you remember that things will eventually decay and turn to dust.
3. Wash the dishes. One university study found that washing dishes mindfully increased inspiration by 25% and lowered anxiety by 27%. Gather the items that you can’t put in the dishwasher. Fill the sink with warm water and enjoy the suds.
4. Scrub the tub. Your bathroom is where you go to wash yourself, so cleaning it is like going to the source. If you feel like you’ve been patching over issues in your daily life, take a step back and examine the root causes. You may be able to make more lasting repairs.
5. Do laundry. Your skin may look like just a casing, but it’s living tissue and the largest organ in your body. Keeping the clothes that touch it soft and clean helps you to stay healthy and comfortable. You may also find it relaxing to watch a load spin around in the washer or dryer.
6. Clear away clutter. A tidy house encourages mindfulness and makes cleaning easier. Buy less stuff and sort through your current possessions to get rid of things you no longer need.
Clean your house and clear your mind by taking a mindful approach to housework. You may start looking forward to vacuuming.