Handwashing with Mindfulness

Handwashing with Mindfulness

Ivan Zy Lim

As we receive daily updates on the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), one key advice involves hand-washing. We should all be frequently washing our hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water or hand sanitiser. In particular, when you get to work or arrive home, after you blow your nose, cough or sneeze, and before you eat or handle food.
20 seconds can feel like a long time or can be difficult to track, sometimes we might be tempted to cut it short.

I find washing the hands provides a wonderful opportunity for taking a few minutes to practice mindfulness-in-action. Which can feel peaceful, reduce stress and anxiety, and be a way to build a meditation and mindfulness practice at the same time.

How can you practise mindfulness as you wash your hands? Here’s a couple of quick guide

1. Sensory Mindfulness.

Connecting with the senses during handwashing. Explore the deep, relaxing sensations of water as you wash. Water is an element of creativity, growth, emotion, and connectivity.
• Take a moment to take a deep breath in through your nose. Exhale and sigh out of your mouth to release any tension and release your jaw as you do this. Repeat a few times if you still feel the tension in your jaw.
• Listen to the sound of the water. How does it sound right now? What other noises are around you?
• Notice the feeling of the warm/coldness of the water and the soap on your hands. How does the water feel? What is the temperature of the water? What are the textures of the water and soap like? How do the muscles of your hands (palm, fingers, knuckles, back of the hand) feel?
• Begin to notice how washing your hands can feel different each time that you do it.

2. Repeat mindful phrases.

Slowly repeat calming and positive phrases in your mind while washing your hands. This practice has been shown to be relaxing and reduce stress. Here is a sample set you can think to yourself while washing your hands. I have also included one specifically for Christian.
• When I breathe in, I fill up and expand with positive and healthy energy.
• When I breathe out, I release any negative or stressful energy.
• When I breathe in, I feel full of lightness and joy. When I breathe out, I let go of any heaviness or worries.
• Repeat these phrases for at least 20 seconds.
For Christian:
Breath prayer links your rhythm of breathing in this way:
• Breathe in, calling on a biblical name or image of God, and
• Breathe out, sharing a simple God-given desire.

Here is one breath prayer: Breathe in, “Be Still and Know.” Breathe out, “That I am God.” Breathe this breath prayer 10 times. Breathe slowly,
Try and see what best fits you and it may also be helpful to try different approaches.

Wishing everyone safe and healthy handwashing.

  • Posted by Bill Bergquist
  • On March 31, 2020
  • 0 Comment

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