There are two types of mindfulness practice: formal and informal. In formal practice, you actually set aside an amount of time and dedicate it to being mindful. Informal practice doesn’t require any extra time; the idea is to bring moment-to-moment awareness to everything you already do, to zero in on what you are doing as you are actually doing it.

People often do things without being fully present, as if they were on automatic pilot. Living this way, they cheat themselves out of many moments in their lives. Trying to bring conscious awareness to your body and mind while remaining aware of the task you are engaging in will allow you to experience life more fully. Paying attention to your five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell) in your daily tasks can help you be aware in the present moment.

Below is a list of some daily tasks that you can bring mindful awareness to:

  • waking up
  • brushing your teeth
  • showering
  • shaving
  • brushing your hair
  • getting dressed
  • tying your shoes
  • washing your hands
  • eating
  • walking to class
  • shopping
  • dancing
  • riding in a car
  • working out
  • folding laundry
  • taking out the garbage
  • washing dishes
  • cleaning your room
  • being with friends or family
  • writing
  • journaling
  • drawing
  • playing a musical instrument
  • playing a sport
  • getting into bed
  • going to sleep

Can you think of any other tasks you do that you can add to this list?

Excerpt from The Stress Reduction Workbook for Teens

Author's Bio: 

Gina M. Biegel, MA, LMFT, is a psychotherapist in San Jose, CA, who works with adolescents, children, and families, both independently and for a large HMO. She adapted the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program for use with adolescents, creating mindfulness-based stress reduction for teens (MBSR-T). A randomized control trial assessing the efficacy of this program showed significant results. Biegel is director of research for Mindful Schools and conducts workshops and conferences teaching MBSR to a variety of populations.