One of the simplest mindfulness meditations you can practice is that of putting your awareness down into your feet. It’s so calming and grounding to connect with awareness in this way. Walking meditation is one possibility for undertaking this mindfulness practice, but you can also do it sitting down.
I’m lucky enough to live in San Diego, California, where I frequently have a walking meditation on the beach. I love to open all my senses to feel the air on my skin, to hear the birds, the surf, and the people, and to see the colors, shapes, and sights of the scene. I like to feel my body walking, concentrating on different parts of my feet, legs, and arms, and then switching back to all my senses taking everything into my awareness.
The walking meditation starts by grounding yourself through the soles of your feet. The soles of the feet exercise is great because it is easy to understand and feel, and you can even do it sitting in a chair. You just need your feet flat on the floor and to focus your attention on the soles of your feet. Notice whether your feet are warm or cold, moist or dry, in a sock and shoe or bare. Then you can move your ankles around to shift your weight to the sides and front and back of your feet and notice how your feet feel.
All this foot business keeps your attention on your feet instead of jumping to react to whatever stimulus is presenting itself to your brain at that moment. So to slow things down in one of life’s challenging moments and allow time to have your prefrontal cortex come on line to help you choose a more skillful response, you can drop your attention down to your feet.
You might be surprised how well this works to give you just enough time to respond rather than react on autopilot.