5 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness
5 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness
WHAT is Mindfulness?
A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting (without judgment) one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
WHO should practice Mindfulness?
Anyone and everyone. Even children can learn how to be mindful. We already do it in some areas of our life without thinking or being intentional about it. But the more we practice mindfulness on a consistent regular basis, the more we can began to change our lives and circumstances and/or challenges we may be struggling with.
WHEN should we practice Mindfulness?
Everyday in all situations. The more we practice being mindful, the more we retrain our brains to be in a positive calm and non-reactive mindset; the richer our lives become. It’s been said it takes 21 days of consistent action to change or form a habit, and of course we want the “good” habits.
WHY should we practice Mindfulness?
There are many benefits when one practices mindfulness. You can reduce stress, increase focus, be more “present” therefore improving our relationships. Being mindful can also help reduce the headtrash that creeps up on us when we are in the autopilot mode.
And last but most important….
HOW do we practice Mindfulness?
I am going to share 5 phases on the How To’s of practicing Mindfulness. Print out these 5 Phase Tips out, write them a sticky note, carry them around with you until it becomes a habit. Maybe consider keeping journal on your experience and progress as you began to implement these tips.
Here’s how to start:
Phase 1. Breathing. I’m serious. Sounds simple but how many of us really slow down to take a deep breath? Breathe in from your belly. Not your lungs/chest area. Take a deep slow breath in counting to 4. Pause and hold for 2. Exhale for count of 4. Pause for 2. And start over.
What did you notice? Any shifts in your mental, physical or emotional state?
Phase 2. Take notice. What type of feelings, thoughts and body sensations are you experiencing right now. Close your eyes and check in with yourself. Don’t try to judge or analyze or answer anything. Just notice.
What did you notice? Now try the breathing again and notice any shifts.
Phase 3. Spend a minute just focusing on your breathing normally (not the counting breathing). Notice how your breath feels in your nose, lungs, belly etc… Bind your awareness to your breathing. Redirect your thoughts to just the breathing sensations. Even if you have to redirect 100 times, its OK! Some people like to breathe out with the word “relax” or “peace” to help redirect.
Phase 4. Check in with yourself again and notice any strong feelings or thoughts. And allow them to be. Whatever I am feeling… I will feel it. Breath in and out with your feelings. No judgement. Just acknowledging what is going on inside you.
Phase 5. Positive affirmation or Truth statement. “May I be kind to myself” “May I have self compassion” “I am OK”. “I am loved” Whatever you need right now to be saying to yourself.
Some like to use guided meditations to help them, some may choose to find help from an instructor, while others may combine it with yoga or exercise. There are those who choose to incorporation it with their personal faith beliefs. Whatever method you choose, find a way that works best for you and be patient with yourself. Remember it takes time to learn new habits, it take time to be in reach the level of mindfulness you desire.
Mindfulness is really about being more “present” in all areas of your life.
If you or someone you know has been struggling with some challenges and would like to reach out for help, many therapists use mindfulness in the therapeutic process. Call our office today if you wish to schedule a first time appointment.