By Dr Javed Latoo
Mindfulness has lately become popular in the west even though it has been part of eastern civilisation and all major religions over many thousand years. More recently there have been studies to understand the benefits of the mindfulness in patients with both mental and physical health problems. Studies have shown it can be beneficial in anxiety, depression, insomnia and chronic pain. It is also known to improve general mental and physical well being in general population.
There are many mindfulness exercises now prevalent in the west that have been studied in various patient groups. Mindfulness is promoted by people of all backgrounds. It is impossible to cite the initial or original source of information as mindfulness has been part of all major religions in one or other form. I am sure the following exercise has been studied and promoted by various individuals including academics and I claim no credit for writing this exercise here.
Most of us, when they have a shower, don't even notice what the experience feels like. We are distracted by a hundred things while having a shower. One of the ways of implementing mindfulness is to be aware of what we eat or drink or hear or watch or even having a shower. You will notice that when you are mindful of having a shower, it is a different, rich and relaxing experience. Let us be mindful of having a shower in the morning or evening
I. Notice how it feels on your skin and in your feet as you stand under the shower
2. Notice how it feels in your hand when you open the shower
3. Pay attention to the sound of water coming out of the shower
4. Pay attention to the touch of water on your head and as it trickles down your body
5. Pay attention to the temperature of water on your body. Is it warm or cold?
6. Pay attention how it feels when applying shampoo to your hair
7. Pay attention to how it feels applying shower gel to your body
8. Notice the feel of your hands rubbing shampoo and shower gel through your body
9. Pay attention to the smell of shampoo and gel
10. As you wash off shampoo and gel from your hair and body, how does water feel on your head, face, body
11. Image your body getting rinsed and cleaned of all impurities and dirt as water trickles down from your head to toe
12. Image the feeling of cleanliness developing as you wash.
13. Image as if you are getting cleaned under a natural waterfall
14. When you have finished shower, pay attention to the touch of towel on your body
You can probably continue this for about 10 minutes. Being mindful during a shower like this will make the experience more relaxing and enriching.
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