You probably have one, maybe more.
Those tasks you just despise, can't stand and wish you never had to do again. Washing up, changing your bed sheets, squats at the gym, checking the mail, hanging out washing, commuting to work, filling the car with petrol.
Everyone has one or maybe more of those jobs, tasks, 'have to's' that they absolutely just can't stand doing. No one questions why they don't enjoy doing it, they just know they don't like doing it and that's a fact. But we never stop to question why we can't stand the task.
What is stopping us from taking the one thing that annoys us most and turn it into something we genuinely enjoy? What if that one task we have dreaded most of our lives becomes the task we use to de-stress, relax and rejuvenate ourselves?
It's called mundane mindfulness and this is how it works.
You pick a task that you just don't fancy, that you do each day, or other day like ironing, taking the trash out, flossing. This is now your daily meditation. You start to question, what is it about this task I dislike? Start to challenge your preconceived ideas of the task. Is there actually a reason for you to hate it?
Think about every individual step in the task you have chosen. For me, it is drying my hair. I pick up a hair dryer, turn it on and lift it about my head, I use a brush to direct the hot air towards my hair, my hair dries and looks better than when it started. What harm is this activity causing me? None. Is it challenging mentally or physically? No. Is it producing a positive outcome. Yes. So why can't I stand doing it?
I had created a negative approach to an activity that I will likely be doing for the rest of my life for no apparent reason except that I decided one day I didn't like it. We all do it and rarely question it.
How to start mundane mindfulness
1. Break down the task into steps
2. Establish the step that irritates you
3. Question why it irritates you (could be that you hate the pegs you own and need to buy new ones)
4. Iron out any preconceived ideas around the task
5. Approach the task like you are doing it for the first time and mindfully run through each step
What you will see is that no body got hurt, it didn't or shouldn't mentally exhaust you and that you are well on your way to create a mindful habit out of a previously misunderstood mundane task.
Let's start questioning the mundane and the views we have cemented in our minds. Let's turn a negative into a positive. Let's train our brains to look for the good in every situation and question the negative. That way you will never have to meditate a day in your life because your every move is a meditation.
This is mindfulness at it's best. Confronting the present, question the uncomfortable and one up your experience of the mundane.
Over time the mundane will become pleasant, something you look forward to and something that relaxes rather than stresses you. It also makes you more aware of other areas in your life that perhaps you have conjured up a negative state towards a person, task or place for little to no reason. Giving us the opportunity each day to become not just more mindful but more aware humans able to enjoy each moment.
And that is how mundane mindfulness works.
Jennifer Ward, Adv dip Nat, BCom Econ, Masters Repro Med (studying)
Jennifer is a qualified naturopath with a focus on fertility, pregnancy, hormonal imbalances.
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