One of the benefits of mindfulness is that we can teach ourselves to be present for just about any task. Practicing mindfulness can transform unremarkable activities into rituals to be savored.
While our lives are filled with regular to-dos, perhaps the one we take most for granted is the simple act of showering. Our minds tend to wander in the shower. Sometimes this is beneficial, as it leads us to sudden revelations or realizations (its not uncommon for people to get their best ideas when showering). But as a routine full of sounds and sensations, showering is a wonderful opportunity to engage in mindfulness while also caring for ourselves at the very same time. Try the following to make your next shower a truly meditative and nurturing experience.
Remove all electronic devices from the bathroom so as to not be distracted. As you undress, take time to fold your clothes or lay them out one by one, naming each one in your head. Put out a fluffy towel and robe, treating them with care. When the time comes to turn on the shower, tell yourself you are ready to be cleansed.
Use Your Senses
As you shower, use all your senses to fully engage. Smell your soap and shampoos. Watch the water swirl down the tub and the drops accumulate on the curtain or wall. Listen to the spraying of the nozzle and the splashing of the stream as it hits the floor.
Pay Attention To Your Body
Do a body scan: feel the heat of the water and the drops on your skin. Start by focusing on your feet and work your way up. Later, as you scrub and clean, focus on your movements and the sensations you experience. Try cleaning yourself in a different way then you normally would.
Breathe and Visualize
Just like you would in regular meditation, take a moment to breathe in and out. Close your eyes and let the water gently run over you. As you breathe, imagine all thoughts and worries passing in and out of your mind like water down the drain.
Acknowledge how lucky you are. As you shower, feel thankful for the hot water, the soap, and the pleasure of getting squeaky clean.
The meditation doesn’t have to stop when you turn off the water. Instead, when you are done, carefully dry yourself, patting gently and softly. Treat yourself with nice lotions or creams. After drying, tidy up so that the bathroom is nice and clean for the next time you use it.
Being mindful in the shower doesn’t have to take a long time. These steps can be done at whatever pace that your schedule allows. And remember, if your thoughts start to wander while you are cleaning, simply bring them back to the sound of the water.
Showers will never feel the same again!