In our day-to-day lives, we are bombarded with many things at once. Even when we are just walking down the street a lot of stuff is happening simultaneously. We walk, greet the neighbor, listen to the birds, and pay attention not to walk into traffic. While that is happening, we also worry about that thing at work, which already kept us awake yesterday.
All of this is happening more or less automatically. The human body is a remarkable machine that can handle all these actions at the same time. Being mindful just means paying attention to what you are currently doing, to focus on your sensations and emotions at this moment. It means to be present, to be in the here and now.
Mindfulness is not something that some people are just inherently better at. It is something that is within every one of us. You can practice it and get better at it.
There are a plethora of studies on the benefits of mindfulness practice. It improves focus, memory, and concentration.
Participants of one study that received an 8-week course in mindfulness training showed a significant lowering of activities in the brain related to stress. Long-term practitioners also enjoy higher rates of satisfaction with their own lives and empathy towards others.
One common way to practice mindfulness is focusing on a single action. Most commonly, that single action is just breathing, think meditation. But you can also have a mindful walk or jog. Or you can be mindful while folding the laundry.
A meditation practice can be very impactful, and we 100% encourage you to try meditating for just a few minutes every day. Start slow, 2 - 5 minutes daily. Once you get more comfortable with it, you can increase the time. If you have no idea what you are doing, guided meditation is an excellent way to start. Check out this list of free meditation apps or Headspace, which has a free trial and a great starter course.
Before you dive headfirst into the world of meditation though, we want to give you a way to practice mindfulness right now (or whenever you are having your next pour-over brew)!
Making coffee is a great way to bring some mindfulness into your life. First of all, you probably make coffee every single morning, so it’s perfect to combine it with a consistent mindfulness practice. Also, starting the day with a mindfulness session is ideal for enjoying a more relaxed and focused rest of your day. So let’s get started.
First of all, try and create a quiet environment where you are not disturbed. If you usually make your coffee with three kids running around, don’t worry though. Try to incorporate your kids into the routine or give them agency to complete one of their morning to-dos on their own (like brushing teeth or getting dressed). You only need a few minutes on your own. Also remember, that giving yourself this little bit of quiet every day will help in making you a much more relaxed parent. Before you can make anyone else happy, you need to make sure you are happy yourself.
Of course, we believe that a pour-over brew is the best way to practice mindfulness because the process is very hands-on. If you don’t have any pour-over equipment ready, you can also be mindful with any other brewing method or even while making tea. Feel free to apply the principles to any other action you might complete in the morning or during any other time during your day.
If you are new to pour-over coffee making, it might help to have a list of the steps handy. Also, prepare all the utensils you need before you start (including heating the water).
Once you are ready, start with five deep breaths. Breath in deeply through your nose and out of your mouth. Make it long breaths. Count to three slowly while breathing in. Hold for a count of 3, then breath out for a count of three. Repeat five times.
These five breaths will be the transition into your mindfulness practice. Once you have started, try to focus only on the actions needed to complete the brew. For every step, try to focus on the effort at hand. When you insert the paper filter into the dripper, feel the texture of the paper. When grinding the beans, concentrate on the sensation the breaking beans produce in your hand while you turn the knob. While pouring the water, get into a rhythm and focus on the weight of the kettle and the smell of the coffee grounds coming into contact with the hot water.
When you get distracted with other thoughts, don’t get discouraged, that is totally normal and happens to everyone. Once you notice that your mind has wandered off, just gently brush the thought away and get back to the task at hand. Imagine your thoughts as clouds just passing by. They are always there, but they don’t concern you at this very moment.
Once you are done with the coffee, take the cup into your hands. Feel the warmth and thank yourself for creating this beverage. You can even say it out loud. “Thank you for making this delicious coffee. I hope you have a wonderful day!”. Or dedicate this coffee to someone special in your life. “I dedicate this coffee to my wonderful wife Nancy. I hope she will have a fantastic day!”. Sit on this thought for 5-10 seconds, really try to feel the positive feelings in your body.
And you’re done! Enjoy your coffee, and let us know how your mindful coffee-making went in the comments.