If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s people-watching.  I do it at the mall. I do it in my car. I do it while waiting in a line. I do it while waiting at a doctor’s appointment.  I’m sure everyone does.

But do you realize how you benefit from people-watching?

When I people-watch so many things appear to be going on in my mind and yet it’s one of the easiest ways I practice mindfulness.  Usually, I’ll start with how the person’s moving.  Being a massage therapist, I notice their posture and I look for gait issues.  I notice how they carry their packages and purses and how they talk or text on their cell phones.  At this point, I’ve completely assessed this person, from a massage therapist’s standpoint.

I also notice how they’re behaving.  If they’re alone, I see how their face might express worry, haste, anger or joy; how their body reacts to the others around them.  If they’re with company, I watch how they interact with each other; how they might take a loved one’s hand, or laugh out loud at something the other person said.  I sometimes even create a story about this person, what they might do for a living and what’s going in their lives.

In all of this, my mind and my body have slowed down immensely. I’m no longer rushing and no longer dealing with my own thoughts.   I’m in the present and when you’re aware and in the present moment, you’re practicing mindfulness.

I admit that when people are watching me, they might be stalking me or they might be judging me. But, I’ll give them benefit of the doubt and hope they’re simply practicing mindfulness.  With that said, if you see me staring at you, I’m not looking for an ass kicking.

I’m just chillin’ and being present.

Next, I’ll be writing about other simple ways to practice mindfulness if people-watching isn’t for you. 🙂