Do you remember the details of brushing your teeth or hair this morning? How about what you ate for
breakfast or what you said to family members? Most of us don’t remember the details and many of us
don’t even remember if those things took place. We often live our lives in a semi-conscious state, going
about our daily tasks almost like robots. And yet, every single moment is rich with details and sensory
experiences.

Integrating mindfulness into our lives can add meaning and beauty to our lives as we recognize and
appreciate the tiny nuances of daily living. But how do we begin? Making a promise to be mindful
throughout the entire day is a sure way to fail. Our brain is easily distracted and will carry us away with
daydreams and grocery lists at the first chance. If we want to program ourselves for success, we need to
start small.

We can identify one or two tasks that we do every day and make a commitment that we’ll practice
mindfulness as we do them. Take washing our hair as an example. We can practice being attentive to
every detail. As we reach for the shampoo bottle we can consider how amazing it is that we tell our
hands to reach and then the muscles, bones, tendons, neurons all work together to make that happen.
We can consciously feel the weight and texture of the shampoo bottle in our hands. As we pour the
shampoo into our hand we can notice the feel and temperature of the liquid. Placing the shampoo on
our hair and beginning to lather it, we can appreciate everything about this sensory experience. There is
soothing massage, the fragrance of the shampoo, the sensation of the soap sliding through our hair, and
the sound and feel of shower water on our body. Instead of rushing through this task we can appreciate
each moment, drinking in the experience with our senses and being thankful for them. If thoughts or
worries pop up, we can gently bring ourselves back to the senses and the experience of washing our
hair.

There are hundreds of small tasks we do each day that can be practiced in this mindful way. The hard
part is jumping in and doing it. Just pick one, make a commitment, and try it for a week. See what it
brings to your life.

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Joann Calabrese

I've been with the Network as a volunteer and contractor since 2009 and as the full-time Recovery Education Manager since February 2016. I have a bachelor's degree in Social Work and a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership. I have many years of experience in program coordination, training, group facilitation, mentoring, and mindfulness practice, and I write a mindfulness blog at www.mindfulnessgardengames.com. I'm most passionate about sharing recovery and wellness tools with others. My go-to wellness tools are hanging out with my dog Luna, gardening, meditation, tai chi, and qi gong.

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