Being 100% present and mindful whilst doing simple everyday things like having a cup of tea trains us to direct our attention consciously. Something that we might think we are good at, but in truth most people struggle with. Most of us are driven by habit and impulse but consciously choosing to be mindful when ‘doing’, we slow down and allow ourselves to become aware of the process, possibly recognising how we usually have very little control over it. Perhaps noticing a constant wandering mind as we battle to stay with what’s happening right now in the moment.
Mindfulness is paying attention in the moment with our senses. Seeing, hearing, feeling and tasting. By practicing mindfulness we experience what actually happens and can uncover when things are happening on autopilot. We know exactly what we are doing, feeling, feeling as we are doing it. If we can do this with a cuppa, we can then take this awareness to relationships, work, anxiety and self- esteem.
Have a Mindful Cuppa
Here are some steps to a mindful cuppa. You can make and drink the tea in a teapot, in a mug, sitting standing; you can even have a coffee. The main thing is to really see, hear, feel, touch and taste it. To really experience it in this moment.
1. Listen to the sound of water rising in temperature and boiling in the kettle. Pay attention to how the bubbles sound (my kettle shows a panel of bubbles in blue as it bubbles). Can you see steam, does the kettle wobble through the movement of the water inside or is it still and solid? How do the sounds change from turning the kettle on, to when the switch flick off? Just let your senses be open to everything that’s happening.
2. What do you feel? Do you feel your feet on the floor, is your weight even on both feet, the temperature of your feet, the texture against your feet from floor, socks or shoes. If you sit to drink you tea, how does it feel to sit.
3. As you pour your tea see the colour of the water change as it hits the teabag, the steam rising from the cup. The sound of the water – a tinkle, a splosh? The temperature of the cup, if you’re holding it. Your mind may wander, but that’s ok, just bring it back to what you’re experiencing as soon as you notice.
4. Removing the teabag, feel the tab on your fingers, or the texture of the spoon, the weight of the teabag, the ooze of the tea if you squeeze before putting it into the bin. Normally this is all autopilot, we just do it. So for today allow yourself to hear sounds, such as opening and closing the bin lid and the drop in to the bin.
5. Do you reach for milk and sugar automatically? Take interest in how you feel as you reach for them. Do you really want them? How do you know? You would taste before adding salt to food, so why not taste before adding sugar?
6. How do your hands feel as you hold the cup warming up? Does it feel comforting, refreshing or even filling maybe?
7. As you bring the cup to your lips. Be curious in how your arm and hand know where to move the cup.
8. As you take a sip of tea can you let the taste absorb into your tongue rather than gulping it down? Gently move the liquid around your mouth, savour the taste – is it satisfying? Maybe you’d prefer it weaker or stronger? Just be aware of these sensations and the likes or dislikes. Stay with tasting and notice (without judgement) any desire to rush, any impatience that comes.
9. As you swallow the tea, notice if it’s a conscious choice, or does it happen automatically? How does it feel to be swallowing? Is the temperature right? Do you feel the liquid go all the way down to your belly or does it seem to disappear sooner?
11. Take a second to pause, notice any feelings of irritation, that it’s taking too long or that you have more important things to do. Or do you feel more relaxed, at peace or like time has slowed down? Where do you feel what you’re feeling? Is the feeling moving? Whatever you notice just be aware. By noticing how much our mind wanders or not we are able to grow in awareness.
13. Ask yourself, ‘has the temperature dropped?’ Decide when you would like some more and continue to be curious as to the taste and sound what you see and feel, until you finish or perhaps decide not to finish the cup.
This is just a suggestion and you can try it with any drink. It’s just a simple way to bring more mindfulness and presence to the simple everyday things that we do and be aware of how much or little true attention we give to things. Once we can master the simple things the bigger things will just be an extension of what we are already used to.
Let me know how it goes in the comments below 🙂