Your daily shower is a perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. Alone, quiet and away from the normal distractions of your life — even if only for a brief period — it can be a time to observe your habitual patterns of thinking. If you want to develop or deepen a meditation practice, the shower is an ideal place to start.
Leave all your electronic devices on the other side of the bathroom door, far enough away so that you won’t hear them.
Prepare your towel and other necessary items, treating them and yourself with the utmost care. As you undress, silently name each article of clothing and hang or lay them down with deep attention.
Bring to your mind the idea that you are about to cleanse yourself for the good health of your body and mind.
Feel the water as it hits your body, and take a moment to be grateful that you have hot, running water.
Notice if your thoughts turn to dwelling on the past or planning for the future. Keep bringing your attention back to the present and the activity at hand.
Wash your body in a different manner than usual. Change this pattern each time you shower.
The timing of your shower is not important. All of this can be done quickly or slowly, depending on how much time you have.
The important thing here is “when showering know that you are showering.”
Anytime your mind leaves the shower, gently coax it back to this moment with words or a deep breath.
When you exit the shower, dry yourself lovingly and apply after shower creams and lotions as if you were doing it for the first time.
When finished, leave the bathroom in the same or neater condition than you found it so that it’s ready for the next person, even if, especially if, that person is just you.
And don’t forget to enjoy!
(A version of this blog first appeared in The New York Times on May 10, 2017)