Welcome Everyone to the 2nd ‘Live Where Your Feet Are’ Challenge!
Living where your feet are is all about having Present Moment Awareness:
Being fully present with what we are doing in this very moment; not getting caught up in our minds worrying about the future or ruminating over the past; simply being with what is and letting it be whatever it is, without judgement.
Easy peasy right??
One of the biggest challenges I face when trying to live in the present is actually remembering to do it!
I’m hoping these challenges will give us practice bringing awareness to the present and help us get into the habit of remembering to do it!
DAY 1 CHALLENGE:
Since the basis of living in the now is being fully present, we are going to start off with being fully present with our base- the breath.
Mindful breathing is a great base; it is something we can always come back to when we catch ourselves on auto pilot or caught up in our minds.
Mindful breathing is going to be a part of most of the challenges to come because it is naturally a part of being present with anything you are doing (since we are always breathing). This is why we are starting our 31 day challenge by practicing it.
So, at some point today, pause for a minute and try to take 5 mindful breaths.
Follow the breath as you inhale and exhale, feel your belly and chest expand. If your mind wanders that’s okay, just notice it and bring your attention back to your breath. Sometimes, especially when just starting out, counting the breath helps keep your attention. 1 on the inhale, 2 on the exhale, and so on. If you already practice mindful breathing, I invite you to up the ante on how many breaths or how long you practice mindful breathing today.
DAY 2 CHALLENGE:
When you’re practicing mindfulness
And you want to have a little fun
What do you do??
You brush your teeth, ch ch ch ch, ch ch ch ch
For today’s challenge we are going to try being present while brushing our teeth! To stay present try noticing the taste of the toothpaste, the feel of the brussels on your teeth and tongue, the process of moving your arm, the tension in your hand or jaw, and of course your steady breath underneath all of that.
If your mind wanders, as it often does in these daily routines, just notice it and bring your attention back to the sensations of brushing your teeth.
Bonus points if you try this more than once today!!
DAY 3 CHALLENGE:
Mindful Listening. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Wherever you are sit with a soft gaze or close your eyes. Notice all the different sounds you hear; some sounds will be constant and others will come and go. You don’t need to try to hear something, you just have to be open to receive any sounds that come into your awareness. If you find yourself thinking about the sound or something else, just notice it, and gently bring yourself back to listening.
Mindful listening is great for practicing mindfulness because it is naturally a receptive activity; we have no control over what we are going to hear, and the act of being open to this is great practice for allowing whatever is in the moment to be accepted just as it is.
DAY 4 CHALLENGE:
Practicing mindfulness today is going to be a cup of tea!
When you sit down with your morning coffee (or tea) take a minute to hold it in your hands before taking a sip. Take 2 mindful breaths. What does it smell like? How warm is it on your hands? Stay present while you start sipping slowly. What does it taste like? Try being mindful for 5 sips! If your mind wanders bring your attention back to your senses (smell, taste) or your breath.
Of course this exercise can be done at any time of the day and with any beverage you prefer, so no worries if you miss your opportunity in the AM.
To get your ballot for today’s challenge post a pic of your cup!
DAY 5 CHALLENGE:
Today find a few minutes to do some stretching; this can be as simple as standing and reaching your arms over your head, or as complex as the one-legged king pigeon pose for all you yogis out there. Just remember, whatever stretch you pick you want it to be something that is not a struggle (you don’t have to think about it) and something you can do very slowly and hold for a few breaths.
Before starting your stretch bring your awareness to your breath for two mindful breaths. Start stretching very slowly and be present with all of the different sensations in your body; feel the areas that become tense and those that relax. If your mind wanders just notice it and bring it back to your breath and the sensations of stretching.
DAY 6 CHALLENGE:
Being Present on our Pillow
When I climb into bed and am ready to fall asleep it seems my mind goes into overdrive. Lately I’ve been catching myself incessantly thinking when my head hits the pillow and saying “Where are my feet”. I bring my attention back to the warmth of the blankets, the softness of the pillow, the purr of my cat, and anything else that is happening in that moment. On nights where I’m particularly worried I find myself needing to say this over and over.
Tonight I propose that we all try this technique. Instead of letting thoughts take us out of the moment when we are snuggled in our beds tonight; let’s try being present on the pillow. When you notice your mind has taken you away, gently bring your awareness back to your breath and your surroundings. Remember, thoughts will continue to happen, try to just observe them and let them pass, instead of following the thought wherever it wants to take you.
DAY 7 CHALLENGE:
Tune into your Tunes!
Take a few minutes today to listen to any song of your choice. If possible do this when you can sit and simply focus on listening. Be present with the music, the lyrics, and notice any emotions or thoughts that come up when listening. If you get carried away by thinking, notice it, and gently bring yourself back to the song. In particular, be an observer of all the different emotions it brings up.
BONUS POINTS for trying one upbeat song and one mellow song. Notice the difference in the type of thoughts and emotions that they stir up.
DAY 8 CHALLENGE: Small Mindful Interruptions
Today, set three alarms on your phone for different times between now and tonight. Suggested alarm title “Where are my feet?”. When the alarm goes off, pause for a moment and take one mindful breath.
DAY 9 CHALLENGE: Mindful Hygiene
Today every time you wash your hands try to be present with the whole process. What does the water feel like on your hands? Watch the soap lather, notice the feel of rubbing your hands together, the smell of the soap, the sound of the rushing water. If you notice your mind wandering, gently bring yourself back to the routine of handwashing. Who knew you could practice mindfulness and get rid of germs at the same time?! 🙂
If you find yourself forgetting try putting a sticky on the bathroom mirror or making a mark on your hand (which will remind you of this practice and also be something to wash off).
For today’s ballot tell me how you did remembering to do this! Don’t worry if you forget a lot today, you might very well end up remembering tomorrow instead!
DAY 10 CHALLENGE: Mindful Hygiene
DAY 11 CHALLENGE: Transforming the Waiting Game
Whenever you find yourself waiting today (in an elevator, in line at the grocery store, sitting in a waiting room, waiting at a red light) resist pulling out your phone or getting frustrated with the time you are “wasting” and notice the peace that exists in that moment. For now you have nothing to do but be present in the moment. Follow your breath and use your senses to take in your surroundings. If you get distracted with thinking gently bring yourself back to the present.
DAY 12 CHALLENGE: Opening Doors
Every time you go to open a door today try to be present for the whole process. Often we rush through this without even being present because we are so focused on getting wherever it is we are going. Today, pause and notice your breath, the grip you have on the handle, the push or pull to get the door open, etc. Remember car doors, building doors, house doors – lots of opportunities to practice mindfulness.
DAY 13 CHALLENGE: Walk Away the Week
Today while you are walking, be it simply down the hall of your office or a leisurely stroll outside, try walking mindfully. Feel the pressure move from the back to the front of each foot as it hits the ground. Notice the rhythm of the motion, feel your breath, feel the movement of your legs, feet, and arms. If your mind wanders, bring your awareness back to the feel of your feet on the ground.
DAY 14 CHALLENGE: Switch On to Switch Off
Today whenever you go to turn off lights, use it as a reminder to come back to the present. In that moment be aware of your breath, your hand flicking off the switch, and the way the room changes as you do so. If you can, pause for a moment of stillness and take 2 mindful breaths.
DAY 15 CHALLENGE:
Today, whenever you transition from sitting to standing try to be present with the entire movement. Take a mindful breath as you stand.
DAY 16 CHALLENGE: Reach for your Phone..and Take a Mindful Pause.
DAY 17 CHALLENGE: Take a Chill Pill
DAY 18 CHALLENGE: Mindful Chores
Today, while you are doing one of your chores (washing dishes, laundry), try to stay present with what you are doing, at least for a few minutes. Instead of thinking about what’s next or getting frustrated that you have to do the chore, try to use this time to practice being present and letting this moment be whatever it is (non-judgmentally). This is always trickier when they are things we would prefer not to be doing. When your mind wanders, bring it back to the sensations of whichever task you are doing, and your breath.
Let me know what chore you did mindfully today to receive a ballot!
DAY 19 CHALLENGE: Putting On & Taking Off Shoes
Today, every time you put on or take off your shoes, be present for the whole process. Be mindful of your breath, the movements of your body, and the feeling on your feet.
DAY 20 CHALLENGE: Identifying “Thinking” or “Feeling”
Throughout the day today, when you notice you have been distracted away from the present moment, identify whether you were distracted by “thinking” or “feeling”. Once you do this, mindfully bring your attention back to the present by focusing on your breath or answering “Where are my feet?” and paying attention to your surroundings.
This practice will help you become aware of what tends to drag you away from the present and how often it happens. The more you practice identifying when and what is taking you away, the quicker you will get at noticing and bringing yourself back.
If you need a visual to remind yourself to complete this challenge; I recommend a sticky with “Where are your feet?” or “Thinking? Feeling?”.
DAY 21 CHALLENGE: Pick a Colour
Pick a colour, any colour, and throughout the day notice everything in your world that is that colour. Whenever you enter a new room, etc, take a mindful pause and identify anything that is that colour. Having the colour in mind will help give you a focus while the process will help bring you back to the present.
DAY 22 CHALLENGE: Mindful Food Prep
While you’re cooking or preparing a meal today, try to stay present with the whole process. Pay attention to the look, feeling, smell, and sounds. Be fully present with everything you do – you might be surprised with how much is actually involved with getting a meal together. If you find your mind wandering, notice it, and gently bring yourself back to the sensations around you and take a mindful breath to re-ground yourself in this moment.
DAY 23 CHALLENGE: Monday Mix-Up
You’ve probably noticed that it’s naturally easier to stay present while doing something new; like if you’re learning a new skill or driving in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. Once things become second nature to us we no longer need to concentrate on them, and therefore our minds are quick to take the opportunity to take off.
Today I propose you try something new to ignite your present moment awareness. Take a different route, try a new flavour, listen to a new song – do any one thing that is out of the ordinary for you. Notice your level of awareness and be present with the new sensations (views, taste, etc). Since we are creatures of habit any change can be hard; simply note any resistance and bring yourself back to the present and the experience at hand.
DAY 24 CHALLENGE: Getting Dressed with Mindfulness
While you’re getting dressed this morning stay present with every movement you make. If you notice your mind wandering, pause for a moment, and bring your awareness back to your breath before continuing to get dressed.
DAY 25 CHALLENGE: Mirror Mirror on the wall…
DAY 26 CHALLENGE: Eating Mindfully
Today, pick a snack or meal you can enjoy at a slower pace (and if possible alone). To start, simply look at the food in front of you. Then, hold it up to your mouth and take a few mindful breaths. What does it smell like? What thoughts come up? Is there an urge to rush through this? Simply observe everything that comes up. Slowly take a bite and start to chew. What does it feel like? Taste like? What temperature is it? Can you stay present with the whole process of swallowing? Take a mindful breath before taking the next bite. If you notice your mind getting caught up in thoughts gently bring yourself back to the present by focusing on the sensations of eating and your breath.
DAY 27 CHALLENGE: Grounding Exercise
Pick an item that will fit in your hand (watch, stone, bracelet, phone, etc). Hold it in your hand and close your eyes. Take a few mindful breaths. Pay attention to the weight of the item in your hand. Notice the textures, run your fingers along the edges, and feel any bumps or scratches. After taking a few more mindful breaths, open your eyes and notice how the item looks in great detail. Look closely and notice all the different textures, colours, scratches, etc. If you find your mind wanders throughout this process, gently note “thinking” or “feeling”, and bring your attention back to the item in your hand. If it helps, squeeze the item tightly while taking a mindful breath, to bring your awareness back to the exercise.
DAY 28 CHALLENGE: Body Scan
Take a 5 minute break for a mindful body scan (set a timer if you’re concerned about time). Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a few mindful breaths. Slowly scan down your body, starting at the top of your head and moving down your neck, back, arms..all the way to your toes. Pay close attention to how each part feels, trying not to get caught on any part in particular, just simply acknowledging the sensation and any thoughts that come up, and then moving onto the next part. Continue with mindful breathing throughout the practice.
If you finish the body scan before your timer goes off, simply start over or bring your full attention to your breath and continue mindful breathing until the end.
DAY 29 CHALLENGE: Lather, Rinse, Bring Yourself Back, Repeat
Since it’s Day 29, have I got a challenge for you! If you are like most people – showering isn’t just a time for getting clean – it’s a time for your mind to run wild. Today, try your best to stay present during the whole process. Be present while you squirt out the shampoo, lather it in your hands, and feel the water cascading over your face. When your mind wanders (believe me it will), simply notice it, and gently bring yourself back to the sensations around you. Try not to get frustrated with how often you have to bring yourself back, just accept it as part of the process, and continue to bring your awareness back to the present moment.
DAY 30 CHALLENGE: Fresh Air
Today I challenge you to take 10 mindful breaths of fresh air. This can mean standing outside or in front of an open window. Wherever you go to get your fresh air, stand still, close your eyes (if you like) and take 10 mindful breaths. Try to stay present with the entire inhale and exhale. Feel your ribs move in and out. Smell the fresh air, and notice the feeling of the air on your face. If you find it hard to stay present with your breath, count the breaths (1 on inhale, 2 on exhale).
DAY 31 CHALLENGE: Mindful Reflection & Moving Forward Mindfully
Today, I challenge you to take 15 minutes to reflect on your mindfulness journey over this last month.
Questions for Reflection:
- Overall, do you feel more present during your day then you did before starting this challenge?
- What positive impacts have you noticed from participating in this challenge?
- What challenges came up for you?
- Looking over the list of challenges (see website), which ones did you enjoy most/least? Which ones did you find easier/harder? And why?
- How will you continue your mindfulness practice? What reminders will you have in place to help you remember?
Download these questions, and a quick survey on the challenge, here. LiveWhereYourFeetAreChallengeReflection If you have the time please complete the survey and email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your answers below.
CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE FOR COMPLETING THE CHALLENGE!!
Here are a couple ideas to keep your mindfulness practice going strong:
-Daily alarms of “Where are my feet?”
-Get the Headspace App (10 minutes of guided meditation daily)
Good Luck Everyone!! Thank you so much for participating!
Looking forward to hearing how everyone makes out with #livewhereyourfeetarechallenge !!
A Mindful Monday Commute
While commuting today (walking/driving/public transportation) notice 5 things about your surroundings. Notice the look of the trees, smell of the bakery, feel of the air, sound of the engine, colour of a passerby’s coat, or anything else happening around you.
If you find yourself getting caught up with thinking (like everything you have to do when you get to the office), notice it, and gently bring yourself back to your surroundings and your breath.
Happy Mindful Monday Everyone!