This is a collection of all the daily challenges posted on the forum for the Daily Mindfulness Challenges course.

If you’re doing the course now, you can use this collection to pick a challenge

  1. Spend one minute reflecting on why you’re doing the Mindfulness Practices course … what would you like to get out of mindfulness? What are your struggles and obstacles?

  2. Reflect on what you think about how you’ll do with this course. What story are you telling yourself about how you’ll do?

  3. Make a commitment to practice every day during this mindfulness course.

  4. Think about something/someone that is frustrating you at the moment, or has frustrated you recently. Now ask yourself, “Is the frustration caused outside of me or inside my mind?” Reflect for a minute.

  5. Take a frustration or anxiety that you’re feeling right now, or any other difficult (or non-difficult) feeling that you’re experiencing … and spend a minute getting in contact with the feeling. What I mean is imagine that the feeling is an object that’s inside of you … can you place the palm of your attention gently on this object? What does the feeling feel like? What is its quality? What is its energy? Where is it located in your body? Instead of saying this feeling is “good” or “bad” or anything else, just come in contact with it without judgment.

  6. Spend a minute paying attention to how your face feels. Try feeling as if your forehead is smiling and relaxed. Then spread this smiling, relaxed feeling to your eyes. Now your cheeks. Now your mouth. Now your ears. Now the top and back of your head. Now your neck. How does it feel?

  7. Spend a minute noticing where there is tension in your body. One by one, focus on a body part with tension, and try to feel how that tension feels. Now relax it a little. How does that feel? Move on to the next part.

  8. Spend one minute looking at a glass of water (or tea, or coffee, etc.). Try to keep your attention fully on the liquid, and bring it back when your attention wanders. Try to see the water as if for the first time, as if you don’t already know what it looks like, as if you’re an explorer going into a new frontier, a vast unknown. What can you notice that you didn’t expect?

  9. Spend one minute savoring a piece of fruit (one bite of a fruit, or a raisin, or any other bite of food). Try to keep your attention fully on the food, and bring it back when your attention wanders. Try to see the food as if for the first time, as if you don’t already know what it tastes and feels like. What can you notice that you didn’t expect? Try to notice as many things about it as possible, subtle nuances.

  10. Spend two minutes just paying attention to the light all around you. Just keep your eyes in one direction, but keep your peripheral vision open so that you can see the light all around you. Try to keep your attention fully on the light, and bring it back when your attention wanders. Try to see the light as if for the first time, as if you don’t already know what it looks like. What can you notice that you didn’t expect?

  11. Spend two minutes just paying attention to all the sounds around you. Just keep your eyes looking in one direction, but be open to all sounds from all directions, no matter how small. Try to keep your attention fully on the sounds around you, and bring it back when your attention wanders. Try to notice as many sounds as you can, notice the quality of these sounds, investigate them as if you didn’t know what they were.

  12. Spend two minutes trying to keep an awareness of your body, breath, and the light and sounds around you at the same time. You can start by paying attention to one, then the next, and so on … then expand your awareness to hold them all at once. You might have difficulty with this but give it a shot, then try again and again for the full two minutes.

  13. Spend two minutes trying to see whatever thoughts or feelings arise in you with an attitude of loving kindness. Bonus: carry this forward into the rest of your day.

  14. Spend two minutes during your commute trying to be mindful as you drive, keeping your awareness on the present moment, your surroundings, the sounds, especially the things you’re supposed to pay attention to as you drive! If you commute by bike or transit, you can do this during that kind of activity as well. If you work at home or don’t work, go out for a walk (or run or bike ride) and try to be completely mindful as you walk. Bonus: try to do it for the entire commute, or your entire walk, run or bike ride.

  15. Set an intention to eat mindfully before a meal. Pause before you eat and think, “I will eat this meal mindfully.” Then try to keep your intention on the food and the act of eating as you eat. When you notice your mind wander, return to the present. Don’t read or use your phone or watch anything as you eat, just pay attention.

  16. Set an intention to wash your dishes mindful after you finish a meal. As you wash the dishes, pay attention to all the sensations you experience, trying to keep your attention on these sensations, coming back if your mind wanders.

  17. For two minutes, try 4-4-8 breathing: Inhale for 4 counts, retain for 4 counts, and exhale for 8. Be slow. Repeat.

  18. Use your non-dominant hand (your left hand if you’re a righty) to brush your teeth today, or to eat a meal. Bonus points: try writing with your non-dominant hand.

  19. Today, allow yourself to delay eating until you feel a bit of hunger (nothing too extreme). Instead of eating as soon as you feel the hunger, allow yourself to sit with the feeling of hunger. Pay attention to this physical feeling, approaching it with curiosity. What is it like?

  20. Thought labeling: For two minutes, focus on your breath coming in through the openings of your nostrils (the tips of the nostrils), and then the sensation of the breath going out through the same point of your nostrils. Count to 10 (one on inbreath, two on outbreath, etc.). When you have a thought that interrupts this breath counting, label it as a “thought”. Then go back to your counting breaths. Count breaths, label a thought, return to the breaths.

  21. Sit for a couple minutes and pick a small object or point to focus on. Focus your attention only on that object or spot for about 10 seconds. Then, without moving your eyes off that spot, widen your attention to an area about the size of a large pizza. After another 10-15 seconds, without moving your eyes, widen your attention to an area the size of your dining table or so. After another 10-15 seconds, once again widen your attention without moving your eyes … to the entire room that you’re in. Once again, after another 10-15 seconds, widen your attention to the entire building or house you’re in, without moving your eyes. Just take the space of the building into your attention space. Next, widen it to the space of a city block. Next, about the size of a neighborhood. Now the size of the city or town you’re in. Now the country you’re in. Now the earth. Now come back to the original spot.

  22. Look around the room and see everything as if you didn’t know what they were. Don’t think “there’s a table,” “there’s my dog,” but instead just see the shapes and colors, see movement and texture, see light and shadows … and get rid of all previous knowledge. Just see with curiosity, like a baby seeing things for the first time, like an alien in a new land.

  23. Today, simply notice where you’re having tension … then allow yourself to relax these places. Relax your face, breathe, and smile. Allow this feeling of a relaxed smile to radiate into the areas in your body where you’re having tension.

  24. As you do a chore or some other usual activity today … pay full attention as you do it. See it as if you’ve never seen it before. Do it with your attention on the movement, sounds, light, textures, all sensations, as well as thoughts and feelings that arise. You only need to do it for two minutes, though feel free to do it for longer.

  25. For the next 30-60 minutes, allow yourself to look at your hands when they are busy, as if they belonged to a stranger. Also look at them when they’re still.

  26. Pick one of the previous challenges to do several times today (at least 3, shoot for 5) … get a small piece of paper and write one word on it to remind you of this challenge … put this note somewhere you’ll see it most of the day … and let it remind you to do the challenge as often as you remember.

  27. Today’s challenge is a repeat of yesterday’s: Pick one of the previous challenges (other than the one you chose yesterday) to do several times today … get a small piece of paper and write one word on it to remind you of this challenge … put this note somewhere you’ll see it most of the day … and let it remind you to do the challenge as often as you remember.

  28. Today I would like you to put a small note somewhere you’ll see it multiple times, maybe a piece of paper with a heart drawn on it … and let this remind you to do a moving meditation several times throughout the day. A moving meditation, as defined in this challenge, is this: when you see the piece of paper, continue whatever activity you’re doing (walking, talking, doing a chore, on the computer) … but do it while paying attention to the present moment. This includes your breath, your body, the sensations around you, other people, etc. You don’t have to hold all of these in your attention at once, but just put your attention on one or two of these at once. It only needs to last for between 20-60 seconds each time you see the note (but you can go longer if you’re into it).

  29. The next time you get the urge to check your email or Facebook … meditate for two minutes on your breath. Only check email/Facebook after you meditate.

  30. Today, try to think about what you appreciate about the people close to you in your life (loved ones, good friends) and give them a compliment (in person if possible, or electronically if not). Be specific — compliment something they do that you appreciate.

  31. Look at your news feed mindfully, and see if you can weed out as many items as you can that don’t add value to your life. This might be in an RSS reader, Facebook or Twitter, or some other way you read your news online. Curate, mindfully, with intention to preserving your attention.

  32. The next time you open email … open it mindfully. Set an intention to only open 3 emails. Scan the titles of your emails and pick 3 that look important. Open the first one, and deal with it completely, archiving it when you’re done. Do the same for the next 2. Then close your email and don’t open it again for at least 30 minutes. (Note: If your job depends on you answering emails, like in customer support etc, then ignore this last part.)

  33. As you use your computer today, just for 5-10 minutes … see if you can keep your awareness of your body in mind as you also pay attention to the computer. For example, if you’re checking email or Facebook, do it as you normally would, but try to also notice your posture, how you’re sitting, your breath, at the same time. This might be difficult at first.

  34. Each time you walk into a room today, pause in the doorway, touch the door frame, and notice the space and energy of the new room you’re entering. Just for a moment. Do this as often as you can remember today.

  35. Spend 5 minutes today decluttering one flat surface in your home or your work space. Just pick a spot, even if it’s super cluttered, and start decluttering it. That means trash/recycle things if you don’t need them, or put them in a bag or box to donate … then put other things away where they belong. Don’t get too caught up in it and spend an hour decluttering — just 5 minutes (or 10 if you really want to). But the challenge is to be mindful as you do it, noticing your body, breath, and the physical sensations of the object, along with any stories you have about the object or the decluttering activity itself. Breathe, and smile!

  36. As you talk to people today, try to notice any emotions that arise in you. Just notice, and label it with a name (i.e. “frustration”).

  37. Several times today, try pausing to do this: See that what’s in front of you, right now, is enlightenment. It’s the perfect moment. It’s not a passing moment on the way to something else, but the most important moment in the universe. Try to appreciate it in its entirety.

  38. As you take a shower today, try to be fully present to the sensations of the shower for the entire time.

  39. Find something with a nice or interesting smell, and meditate on the smell for two minutes. Notice when you’ve wandered from the pure sensation of the smell to a thought or memory of the smell, and return to the pure sensation.

  40. Take a short walk (5-10 minutes). The first part of the challenge: during the entire walk, try to stay with the present moment — light, colors, sounds, smells, the sensations of your breath and body, even your thoughts and emotions that are here in the present. The second part of the challenge: notice when your mind starts wandering away from the present moment. Notice the chain of thinking that has started, as soon as you can, and come back to the present. Repeat over and over, during the entire walk.

  41. As often as you can for the whole morning (or afternoon), try to use a loving touch with everything you handle with your hands. If you touch another person, use a loving touch. If you handle groceries, wash a dish, open your laptop, scratch your face, use a loving touch. Put a visual reminder on your hand or somewhere else you’ll see it if that helps.

  42. Mindful appreciation: For the next hour (or 30 minutes if that works better), try to fully pay attention to everything around you as you do your normal activities … see them in full detail, keeping your mind as present as possible without wandering. Try to notice things you appreciate about each thing you see, each person you come across, each moment.

  43. Labeling: For the next 5-10 minutes, label everything that goes through your mind. You can do this sitting still or doing your regular activities, but you’ll have to concentrate … label everything with one of these: “sensation,” “thought,” “urge” or “emotion.”

  44. Love edition: The next person you see, be mindful of that person, as they are, and try to drop below any story you have about them and just see them as they are. Finally, wish them love and happiness.