I recently conducted a Google Search of mindfulness and found the Palouse Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction site pop up. (You can read more about MBSR and my thoughts on this topic at the link found at the end of this post).
After looking through the Palouse website, I realized that the mindfulness “trend” may the last piece of hope that many suffering humans have. We have tried the medications and have tried to shut our problems out of our heads… but clearly these solutions are not a healthy long-term solution.
Keep reading to get a quick look at what mindfulness is and why you should consider developing your own practice.
Mindfulness = curious, open, accepting, and nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment.
Yeah, not so much. Before I began practicing mindfulness, I was resisting every “uncomfortable” sensation that came my way. I was living on autopilot. I was truly suffering.
(There is a difference between pain and suffering). My “inner roommate” was doing her best to convince me I was in constant danger. The threat of embarrassment, failure, isolation, and death had me in fight or flight for much of my day.
Needless to say, I sit here today with those same thoughts and emotions finding their way into my head daily (yup, I’m still human). I no longer suffer from anxiety, depression, IBS – the list could go on for days. NOTHING has changed other than my relationship with my thoughts and emotions.
You see, we can’t stop our minds from thinking, but we CAN stop giving those ideas the power to sabotage our lives. Imagine having a friend who is always criticizing, complaining, judging, storytelling, etc.! You would cut them out of your life in a heartbeat (or at least I hope you would)! The crazy thing is, YOUR THOUGHTS ARE DOING THE SAME THING…24/7.
Believe it or not, you have the ability to notice and let go of your perception of these absurd ideas. My therapist, no shame, once told me that any human of average intelligence could gather all necessary information after thinking or planning the same idea up to three times. Any more time and energy given to that thought serves no additional purpose. I know this made a huge impact in my life.
I do not have to rethink a past conversation, play out a future scenario, or live in constant fear of the unknown because it just is NOT going to serve me! (Oh, and by the way, who says your thoughts and worries are rooted in even the slightest bit of truth, to begin with!)
We are always living in memories of the past (frequently inaccurate) and predictions of the future (calm down Miss Cleo). Mindfulness lies in the truth of all there is – this moment.
Below are some ways to instantly bring mindfulness into your daily routine:
- Meditation: Practice the body scan, loving-kindness, or breath awareness meditation. I will be writing on these topics in the next couple of weeks.
- Mindful Eating: Set aside a few minutes of each meal to focus on the smell, texture, temperature, etc., of the food you are eating. Mindfully eating is something I had NEVER done before taking a mindfulness course. It is amazing how much you observe when you take the time to notice.
- Pick one daily routine to be completely “present.” For example, I dedicate the time I take to brush my teeth for my mindfulness practice. I focus on the sounds, sights, and sensations while I complete this daily task. Having a designated time to practice mindfulness helps implement it into your everyday life.
- Set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to take a moment to engage in the present moment fully. I LOVE doing this. I often fall into auto-pilot and have a chance to take a step back and acknowledge the bigger picture when my alarm goes off.
- Write a sticky note and place it somewhere you will see it every day. Let it be a reminder to take a moment to embrace your surroundings and internal energy fully.
- While sitting in the car, let every red light be a reminder to connect with your breathing. Is it fast, slow, shallow, or deep? How is it affecting your state of mind?
Do you have any other ideas to help implement mindfulness into a daily routine? I would love to hear your thoughts, experience, or feedback!