Washing Your Hands, Mindfully


Practice mindfulness while you protect yourself from COVID-19.

A little mindfulness can go a long way towards building your resilience and managing unease. We hope you give it a try and let us know below how it goes for you.

Experts say you need to wash your hands for 20 seconds to really get rid of those germs. They also say that thorough hand washing with soap and water is as effective as hand sanitizer for killing the coronavirus, and these days, it’s a lot cheaper, too.

We figure we might as well get a little mindfulness practice in while we are washing up!

Meditation poems, known as “gathas,” are used specifically to help you anchor your awareness in the present moment, so you are paying close  attention to what you are doing. Thich Nhat Hanh, a beloved meditation teacher, popularized using gathas in this country and has written gathas for every occasion. 

Hand washing is a perfect activity to link to a gatha, and there is no better time than now to get creative about making sure you are taking your time as you wash up. 

So to help you focus your attention and lighten your mood while you are washing your hands, we’ve written a hand-washing gatha for you to try.


That’s pretty normal. But you can check your skepticism and give it a go anyway. When I am skeptical about something, I like to try it 3 times before I make up my mind whether it is useful for me personally. You could take that approach as well. What do you have to lose?

Link your breath to the words of the poem. Repeat it twice, which is 6 full breaths, and about 20 seconds.

Breathing in, I feel the water running on my hands.
Breathing out, I feel soap making my hands slippery.
Breathing in, I rub my hands together.
Breathing out, I notice the pleasant sensations.
Breathing in, I feel my hands touching each other.
Breathing out, I release tension.

Don’t particularly like these words? No big deal. You can write your own and share it in our comment section below. Also, here’s a link to a pdf version you can print out and tape to your bathroom mirror, so you can refresh your memory at hand-washing time.

P.S. We’ve put together a Coronavirus Resilience Guide full of free resources. Make sure to check it out.


The Mindful Twenty Something by Holly Rogers
“Wise, but not obscure. Practical, but lighthearted and inspiring.”

— MIRABAI BUSH, co-founder and Senior Fellow of The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Learn more about the book