How to Be Mindful When It’s Hot Outside

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Meditation for Real Life

“The high heat and sultry air of summer can exact a toll on mood and physical well-being. Meeting steamy conditions with mindfulness may help us discover that peace and joy are possible, even under the sun’s most unforgiving rays.” — Breon Michel, a mindfulness teacher from Phoenix.

As you notice the sun tingling on your back, the beads of sweat between your brows, or a sticky residue on your skin, try to do so with nonjudgmental awareness. Can you feel those sensations without getting swept away by a commentary on how awful it seems?

See if you can detect any pleasant sensations. Is there a pleasant warmth inside your body? Is a cool breeze on the skin refreshing?

As you bring this gentle acceptance to your sensations, both good and bad, notice what happens when your experience is not colored by judgment. Are you more tolerant, curious or open?

If the heat is making you restless, bring your awareness into your feet. Find a shady spot outdoors and kick off your shoes. Feel the soil, sand or blades of grass tickle your toes. Take a few mindful steps, paying close attention to each sensation as you walk gently across the earth.

If you can, take a rest in the middle of the day. As the heat peaks, our energy may plummet. Meet these natural shifts with openness and acceptance. Rather than fighting fatigue, use it as an opportunity to slow down and breathe. See if the breath can offer a momentary burst of coolness or revitalization, even on a muggy day.

When your thoughts return to the unpleasantness of the heat, just notice that. Observing how our minds work is part of the practice. Just use it as an opportunity to let go and begin again.

Practicing mindfulness is a way to practice being right where you are, with heightened sensitivity, in order to allow peace and joy to arise naturally.