Mindfulness Practice: Formal and informal

There are a number of ways to practice mindfulness and get into the present moment.

These include:

  • Formal Mindfulness Practice
  • Informal Mindfulness Practice
  • Grounding
  • Slowing down and being present

Formal Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness can be practiced in a formal manner such as meditating. Meditation consists of sitting down in a quite space focusing on observing something that does not finish or end such as the breath. When observing, mindfulness practice instructs to watch the breath coming into the lungs and emptying out. The practice of mindful meditation understands that the mind will sooner or later lose focus of the breath and become occupied with thoughts or sensations that arise. When this occurs, firstly notice the mind has wondered away and without judgment, gently bring your attention back to the breath. Repeating this process will give you practice in sustaining your attention and not getting caught up in other things around you. Furthermore, this type of mindfulness practice promotes non judgmental observation and therefore assists setting up a foundation being more aware of your surroundings.

Informal Mindfulness Practice

This practice is based around being present in your daily life without the need to practice sitting or walking meditation. Informal mindfulness practice can be performed throughout day to day activities such as opening and closing door and as such supports being more aware of what we are doing and how we are doing these actions. When closing a door, its not uncommon for us to make a noise when pushing it shut (or letting it slam shut). In informal mindfulness practice, we are asked to be present when closing a door and as such close the door with a sense of intention, like ensuring little or no noise is created. In doing so, we practice informal mindfulness and become more aware of how we act and what is happening in that moment (the present).


Grounding is the practice of noticing what is happening through the 5 human senses – sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing.  Grounding promotes making contact with the ‘here and now’ such as becoming aware of what you can hear right now in the room you are in… take a moment to identify 3 noises/sounds. Then notice any noise you can hear outside the room. Notice any sensations you can feel such as your feet touching the floor. This grounds you to what is happening right here, right now. This is called grounding and helps to just stop and take in the moment.

Slowing down

Simply slowing down in your day to day helps in becoming more aware of what is happening around you. Consider taking a walk around your neighbourhood at half speed and take this opportunity to look around and notice any detail you may have missed previously. In our busy lives, we seem to be hurrying from one situation to another and doing so miss out on so much detail. Next time you have a spare 15 minutes, rather than quickly checking your emails maybe try slowing down and looking around to see what you can appreciate that has been around you all this time.

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