Whether it’s mowing the grass, paying bills, washing the dishes, or vacuuming the carpet, most of us have chores to do on a regular basis that are not very enjoyable. Since the tasks have to be done anyway, you might as well make the best of the situation. Performing chores is the perfect time to meditate and relax your mind.
Imagine if you actually looked forward to doing all those annoying day-to-day tasks. Think about how your life would change.
Try these ideas for using your chores to create peace of mind:
1. Use the time to meditate. Meditation is really just focusing your mind completely on what you’re doing. You might think of meditation as sitting there thinking about nothing, but that’s the meditation equivalent of riding a bike with training wheels. The real objective is to be able to meditate anywhere and everywhere.
If you’re washing the dishes, you should only be focused on washing the dishes. You should not be thinking about your bills, your childhood, the future, or even how long doing the dishes will take. Only focus on the action you’re currently performing.
This is much more difficult than it sounds. Your mind is used to thinking about whatever pops into awareness. It takes real effort to focus your mind. But you’ll be surprised at how relaxed you become when you’re able to focus on just one thing.
2. Slow down. There is little value in rushing. If you hurry to get done, you’re just creating more stress and you’ll do your chores poorly.
• Strive to do an excellent job and take your time. If you do a great job, you might not have to repeat the task again for a while.
3. Having an environment with no clutter is peaceful and conducive to focusing. Have you ever noticed that when you’re stressed, clutter just seems to make it even worse? Getting your chores done will help to create a sense of calm.
4. Pay attention to your breathing. It’s tricky, but ideally you will be focusing on both your breathing and the task at hand. Being aware of your breathing helps to ground you in the present moment. It also keeps your mind from thinking about the past or future.
5. Pay attention to your emotions. Ideally, you will have none. If you’re only paying attention to the task and your breathing, it’s impossible to feel any emotions.
• If you’re feeling something, that’s a sign you’re not 100% focused.
• For example, if you’re only thinking about cleaning that dish, how can you feel anything?
6. Expand this ability to other parts of your life. It’s easiest to meditate alone in a dark, quiet room. It’s a little tougher to meditate while you’re doing your chores or anything else.
• For example, it’s difficult to meditate on a hot, loud, smelly, subway when you’re sick and late for a meeting. But it’s not impossible.
• Expand your abilities into the other facets of your life. Eventually, you should be able to meditate anywhere, under any circumstances.
Chores present an excellent opportunity to relax and focus your mind. With time, you’ll actually look forward to chores when you start to feel stressed. This is much better than turning to TV, food, alcohol, or any other activity with no upside. You’ll feel better and get all those annoying tasks done at the same time.
When you’re done with your chores, you’ll be in a better place to take care of other business. You’ll know you’re really on track when you can just jump into a task you normally dread and get through it without experiencing any negative emotions.