Mindfulness for Busy New Yorkers

Central Park

By Jessica MacDonald, Ph.D.

For many people coming to the center, they are eager to try mindfulness. For most it’s great, until they try to fit it in to their daily schedule. And then it gets tough. Between working nine, ten, eleven hours a day, having a family and/or social life, exercising, cooking, cleaning, eating, and sleeping, it seems like there’s not enough time for the things we absolutely have to do, never mind want to do. It’s easy to become frustrated and give up. However, with just a tiny bit of effort, you can incorporate mindfulness into your life within your current schedule:

Here are some exercises to bring mindfulness into your daily life.

  • Morning Coffee (or tea)?  As you drink, focus on the taste, aroma, and sensation of drinking and the feeling of the cup in your hand.
  • Taking a taxi or Uber? Put down your phone and look out the window. Pay attention to the sights and sounds of the city. Notice them without judgement, letting go of any thoughts. Notice what it feels like to be moving.
  •  Walking home? Try a walking meditation:  Start by feeling the connection of your feet to the ground and your feet to the rest of your body: legs, torso, arms, shoulders, neck and head. Now bring your attention to your right leg. Shift your weight to this leg and lift your left leg up. Move this leg forward and gently and deliberately place it back on the ground. Repeat this process. Bring your attention to the sensations in your feet, from the soles to the toes, as you place them on the ground and lift them back up. Notice any thoughts, feelings, worries or concerns that come, and let them go.
  • Eating at your desk? Take a minute to eat mindfully. Observe your sandwich with a gentle curiosity. What does it look like? What color or colors is it?  What does it smell like?  What’s it texture? Now take a bite. What does it feel like to chew it? What does it taste like?

With a little bit of work and practice, you can incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. If you are interested in learning more about these techniques or other methods of incorporating mindfulness into your day, please feel subscribe to our monthly newsletter.