Mindful hand washing! Creating opportunities throughout the day for focused attention, noticing sensations, without any judgement and offering gratitude following. In today’s post, Tracy provides opportunities to see appreciate the connection between hand washing, gratitude and mindfulness.
Recently gratefulness.org published an article celebrating gratitude while washing one’s hands! (https://gratefulness.org/resource/handwashing-a-grateful-practice/). This was written well before the days of the Coronavirus, but its key points offer us (and our children) opportunities to make connections between the physically healthy act of washing hands and the mentally healthy practices of gratitude and mindfulness.
As you may remember from our post last Thursday, the practice of gratitude can allow us to redirect our brain to focus on positive thoughts and feelings, and in the process, reduce the anxious ones. When washing your hands today, take a moment to reflect on your gratitude for the simple power of soap and water to combat a very complex virus, for your access to indoor plumbing, and for the ability to engage in a simple act that powerfully contributes to the health of yourself and others.
Breathing and Mindfulness
Hand washing also offers us the opportunity to engage in mindfulness, neutrally observing the present
moment through our senses. When we gently shift our focus to the now, we have a better ability to
remind ourselves that we have the power to notice and adapt our responses to stress and anxiety.
Washing our hands allows us to slow down to feel the temperature of the water, breathe in the scent of the soap, and listen to the sound of the faucet running.
We have all been instructed that thorough hand washing involves at least 20 seconds of effort. Many
celebrities have shared videos of themselves and their children singing a variety of 20-second songs.
Fun Clip from the Holderness Family! https://youtu.be/a2LLF9eE_VI
Washing our hands has become a rote gesture, but approaching it from a place of reflection can give us a new perspective. As you appreciate the literal and symbolic power of your hands, consider the ways
in which they help you to be uniquely human, act, express, communicate, give and receive.
As we discussed on Tuesday, set shifting (the letting go of the “usual” to embrace a new approach) is a
powerful tool in combating the rigid thinking that often accompanies anxiety.
Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is a central skill in the development of a grateful mindset.
Most days (especially those in which we are hibernating at a social distance) do not contain
monumental experiences for which we feel overwhelmingly grateful. Appreciating the power, the simplicity, or the transcendence of an ordinary act gives us the opportunity to look for gratitude in each moment. In that process, we widen our positive filter and narrow our negative one.
The act of hand washing has quickly become a basic gesture of good self-care. Whether we are washing our hands, drying them on a fluffy towel, or massaging them with scented lotion, we can all benefit from using our hand washing time to step out of survival mode and spend a moment considering the ways in which we have been and could be taking greater care of ourselves.
We are all willing to engage in the basic healthy practice of hand washing. What other healthy practices, physical or emotional, might we add to our daily routine?
Today, take some time to look at the basic act of keeping your hands clean in a new way and see what
fresh perspectives might bubble to the surface. Hand washing creates opportunities for focused attention, noticing sensations and without judgement. Try offering gratitude following – maybe place a gratitude jar near your sink!
Thank you for reading today! We will continue to share resources to inspire anxiety health awareness and youth wellness throughout the week. Sending well wishes to you all!