Your Guide to Mindful Showers

22nd June 2024 | Well-being

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We hear the term ‘mindfulness’ being tossed around everywhere. Whilst most people recognise the benefits of slowing down the mind and giving our nervous system a break, it doesn’t always feel accessible.  Many associate it with a certain type of person, perhaps someone who can lay still for hours in a trance like state. 

Clients often say that the reason they don’t practice mindfulness is that they either don’t have time or they find it too hard to focus. The time barrier is easily solved as mindfulness doesn’t have to take up much time, but the ‘sitting there, just breathing’ aspect is harder to overcome.  

‘I don’t get it, what’s the point’

‘I can’t stop my mind racing for 5 seconds, never mind 5 minutes!’ 

This is why I encourage clients to try mindful showers. They are a quick and easy gateway into the world of mindfulness for those wary about the concept.

What is a Mindful Shower?

A mindful shower is simply bringing conscious awareness to your usual showering experience. Like traditional meditation, it focuses your attention on your senses, and helps you staypresent in the moment. As we all have showers, this kind of mindfulness is accessible.  It can turna routine task into a more restorative experience, and the more we practice mindfulness, the calmer and more in control of our minds and emotions we feel.

How to Take a Mindful Shower

1. Prepare Your Environment

In an ideal world, you would create a relaxing ambiance by lighting candles, dimming the lights, or playing meditation music. However, for those time pushed, simply minimising distractions would be enough preparation, such as silencing your phone and if you live with others, askingthem not to interrupt you!

2. Set an Intention

It can be helpful to think of your mindful shower as a form of self-love. You are using this time to relax and cleanse your body and mind of anynegative energy, so you might want to think about what you want to get from it. Whether preparing for the day ahead or winding down in the evening, some people find setting an intention for their mindful shower can enhance the experience. Examples of intentions could be to be more grateful, compassionate, productive, or creative.  If this doesn’t resonate with you, that’s fine.  Intention setting is not an essential part of the practice.

3. Pay Attention

Turn the water on and adjust it to your desired temperature. Notice the sounds of the water hitting the shower walls and the gentle hissing from the showerhead. Notice the steam and feel it in your nose and mouth. Stay present and engage with your surroundings. What can you see? Notice the droplets of water, their speed and direction.  Imagine you are studying everything through a microscope, searching for detail.

4. Scan Your Body

Step under the water and observe the sensations. Notice the temperature and pressure of the water as it splashes against your skin. Feel it roll down your body, from your head and hair to your feet. Some clients who struggle to connect with their bodies, find it helpful to focus on each body part in turn, so as the water hits your arm, leg or back, you bring your attention to that part of the body. Take deep, calming breaths and relax any muscles you don’t need.

Tune into any smells and sensations of any products you are using; the foaming of the shampoo, the scent of the soap.  What does it feel like as you massage your scalp, rinse away the soap?

As you pay attention to your senses and really focus on your shower experience, there will be less room for other thoughts to pop into your head.  If they do, simply notice them without judgement and turn your attention back to the sights, sounds, smells and sensations of the shower.  It can be tricky to retrain our busy, multi-tasking minds to stay present in the moment, rather than dwell on the past or worry about the future, but the more you practice mindfulness, the easier it becomes.  

Who benefits from taking mindful showers?

1. Any Age, Gender, or Experience Level

Shower meditation is suitable for all ages, genders, and meditation experience levels.

2. Struggle to Practice Mindfulness Sitting Still

If you find it hard to sit still during meditation, a shower meditation allows for a more active practice, combining routine with mindfulness.

2. Short on Time

For those with busy schedules, a shower meditation combines mindfulness with a routine task, keeping the practice under 10 minutes.

3. Find Water Calming

If water is calming and healing for you, incorporating it into your meditation can help access a deeper state of relaxation.

Benefits of a Mindful Shower

• Cleanses your energy as well as your body

• Supports mind-body connection, particularly helpful for those who have a tendency to dissociate or feel numb in their bodies

• Aids in relaxation and lowers stress hormones

• Creates a daily ritual without adding extra time to your day

• Enhances present moment awareness

• Giving your brain a rest, boosts creativity and focus

• Promotes mindfulness in other areas of your life

Incorporating a mindful shower into your daily routine can transform a simple task into a powerful practice, enhancing your overall well-being. Once you have mastered mindful showering, you might want to try other forms of simple meditation, like mindful eating or chores, creating more opportunities for your mind to slow down and for you to live in the moment.

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