If you haven't at least heard the term "mindfulness" before, I'd be surprised.
The term and act of mindfulness has gotten increasing attention over the last several decades, as research has been demonstrating its benefits to the brain throughout this time period.
People are using it in day-to-day life!
Teachers in some schools are now starting their students' day with a mindfulness practice.
Savvy CEOs are intentionally making a place for mindfulness in their employees' days.
Successful entrepreneurs put mindfulness as their number one non-negotiable in their business.
If you've heard about mindfulness, I can guarantee you've wondered if it's even for you.
Well, consider this: research shows that by practicing mindfulness each day, you
increase your ability to make important decisions in life
decrease emotional suffering from anxiety and depression
work through pain, and
are able to build compassion for yourself and others.
WOW! Those are quite a few benefits!
This practice of mindfulness allows you to keep your thoughts in the present moment instead of in the future or the past - the two spaces our mind naturally wanders into and likes to take long reminiscent sessions in.
Adopting even just one mindfulness practice can take you a long way.
Not sure how to get started? You're in the right place!
Try out the following steps:
1. Choose something to focus on - like your breath. If you're uncomfortable with that, look for something around you - a pen, a mug, art on the wall, a tree outside, anything, really!
2. Set a timer. Start out with 3 minutes if this is your first time!
3. Start observing all the details you can about what you've chosen to observe.
If it's your breath, observe what your breath feels like in your body, where it moves, how light/heavy it feels, its rate/rhythm/quality.
If it's around you, observe the colors, the writing or absence of writing, the subtleties. Pick it up or touch it. Notice the texture, weight. Try to observe through all 5 of your senses (maybe not taste!) as much as possible.
4. When your mind starts to wander (which it will), bring it back to observing what is in front of you. Do that over and over and over again, every time it happens!
5. Become the observer of your thoughts. Notice those wandering thoughts passing by like billboards on a highway.
6. Be gentle with yourself. Notice thoughts of "I can't do this", "This is frustrating", "There's something wrong with me" or other similar judgements. Note that these are normal whenever beginning your mindfulness practice.
7. When your timer goes off, you've completed your first mindfulness practice!
Keep practicing daily and increase your time slowly.
Every day will be different. Some days will feel harder than others, and that's okay!
The benefits will start building.