The Importance of a Mindfulness Practice.
With all that’s been going on in today’s global community, I have been doing my own version of social distancing. When I have had a chance to hibernate, go within, I reflect and discover lots of new ideas that begin to blossom. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and I felt called to write and offer ideas on various mindfulness practices. Whatever it is that is bothering you, practicing mindfulness can help you in experiencing the present moment with acceptance, lower stress levels, and reduce any anxieties you may have in life. Now more then ever before, we need to develop a mindfulness practice to help us through the difficult moments.
To begin with, I will state (as I do in almost ALL of my workshops I offer), mindfulness wont prevent you from facing trials and tribulations. What it will do is help you find clarity in moments of chaos. What this means is that mindfulness will help you stay calm and present in the moment, whereby helping your bp stay low and thus making good choices and decisions when the going gets touch.
Just as with other new activities you try in your life, mindfulness takes practice. If you want to experience acceptance and awareness of your thoughts, you need to cultivate it with a repeated practise. Like any athlete would go to the ballpark, mindfulness is now about harnessing your fundamental skills. If you are running a marathon you don’t start by running the entire 11 miles (or whatever the length of the race) without starting out slowly by building stamina, frame of mind, etc. No matter what you start, you will almost never start at the highest levels of stamina. So too with mindfulness. We need to cultivate mindfulness in order to fully integrate it into our lives and use it properly.
If you want to use mindfulness properly, begin with little bits every single day. In order to do this you need to pay attention to what is happening in the moment but not so much that you end up altering your everyday life. Notice your breath, and check-in with yourself. This is eliminating everything around you, just focus your attention inward. The important pieces of mindfulness is to simply TRY You got this!
Here are a few ideas for you to try:
Mindfulness Idea #1:
Notice the sensations of all of your senses. If you are eating, notice the texture of the food, the smell of the food, that taste of the food. You might think that you have noticed this before but when you stop and become mindful, taking all other thoughts out of your mind for the moment, you will experience eating in a different way. One way to begin is to put down your fork every time you take a bite of your food. This is a new strategy I have tried recently, and I love it!
Mindfulness Idea #2:
If you go for a walk, for instance, take notice of the birds. What are the colors of the bird? Is the bird chirping? What is the sound it is making? Is there a babbling brook or a lawn being watered? Notice your walk itself. Listen to your footsteps. What kind of pathway are you on? Notice your breathing. I encourage you not to pay attention to the traffic noise, the kids screaming and yelling (if you are at a park), etc.
Notice every single thing about the moment. Take mental notes and you will see things differently the next time you go for a walk. If you are walking with your children, I love sharing with them these reflection conversation starters: “What are 3 things you can see, 2 things you can hear, 1 thing you are grateful for”.
Mindfulness Idea #3:
You could also try meditation classes and participate in formal meditation. Formal meditation within this type of setting allows you to stop everything in your world and concentrate on the present moment. You don’t have to go to a class, you can do this anywhere. There are lots of online classes and apps on your phone to help you get started in a meditation practice while we are experiencing social distancing in our global community. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like some guidance to get started.
Mindfulness meditation involves directing your mind to whatever begins to predominate it. You do this by checking-in on how the event is experienced in your body. Is there a part of your body that is aching? Is there an emotional experience bubbling up that is affecting your body? By that we mean something such as a lump in your throat that you feel with sadness. Notice and experience this awareness and acceptance as part of your meditation practice. You may want to journal and reflect in these moments.
I hope these three ideas help you along your practice. Now more then ever before we need to develop our own mindfulness experience to help us through our trials and tribulations in life. I wish you much success in your pathways of self-discovery!