10 minutes of happy: go to the market
Going to the market is usually seen as a chore. It’s a to-do that feels like a drag but should really be appreciated. How lucky are we to have so much food available to peruse? Markets are filled with colors, sounds, smells, textures and flavors. It’s like an amusement park for the senses. But when was the last time you went to a market to just experience it rather than trying to get out as quickly and efficiently as possible? For this edition of “10 minutes of happy” I suggest going to a market of any sort, though one with fresh products is ideal.
This mindfulness exercise is great for those who are often trapped in a box all day; whether it be your office, your car or your home. Take a break in your day or use your lunch hour to get up, move around and stimulate all of your senses. The purpose of this activity is to reconnect with your surroundings internally. You’re not obligated to get anything but it’s likely you’ll be tempted to once you really notice all that surrounds you.
Follow these steps to experience 10 minutes of happy at the market.
Step No. 1 Center yourself
If you’re walking to the market the activity begins the moment you walk outside. If you’re driving/parking, begin upon arrival. The first step is to inhale deeply, feeling the breath in your nostrils and letting it out slowly. Do this again. And again. And again. Take a total of 8 deep breaths and check in with yourself. Are you here? Are you in the moment? If you’re still elsewhere, keep taking breaths and following it in and out until you are totally focused on that transition.
Step No. 2 Notice what you smell
When you first walk through the door take a deep breath. What do you smell? Markets are filled with all sorts of things. What is your nose picking up?
Colors, people, objects, lighting, all of these elements are coming together to form the market. As you pass from one portion of the market to another feel free to stop at one portion and really take it in. Begin to notice tiny details you would normally overlook.
Step No. 4 Notice what you taste
When smells are strong, often there’s a slight taste that appears. Perhaps there are samples available. If so, eat a piece slowly and mindfully, noticing what happens as you do so.
Step No. 5 Notice what you feel
As you smell, taste, and see all that’s around you, notice what your whole body feels like. Are you in a warm department or is it chilly? Have you started to salivate or do you feel hungry?
Step No. 6 Notice what you hear
Is there music or chatter? Can you hear the cars on the road? Can you find the silence between every sound wave?
Step No. 7 Check in with yourself
Now that you’ve explored the market at a different pace and with a different intention than usual, how do you feel? What did you take away from the experience? Was it easy to stay in the moment or was your mind pulling you away from it? As you return to whatever you were doing before the market, notice how your attention and mood have shifted, if at all.
There are no right or wrong experiences. The process of focusing on what’s happening around you is an exercise. It will always take some effort but it gets easier the more you do it.