Mindfulness is not a religion. It is not brain washing. No magic here.
Being in the moment you are in.
Noticing how you feel in the present moment.
Noticing the thoughts that you may have in the present moment.
Letting the thoughts or feelings in the moment you are experiencing float away without judgement.
How does mindfulness help anything?
- Focussing on the here and now, right now, stops you thinking about what may have happened in the past to make life difficult. It may also stop you thinking to the future and predicting what you think might happen. Thinking about the past and the future can cause low mood and anxiety. Being mindful, in the moment can protect you from dipping into low mood or anxiety.
- Learning how to be mindful allows you to be in your own peaceful mind without anyone knowing that you may be totally in your own world.
- Mindfulness can help you connect to your emotional experience.
- Being mindful can help you work out what it is you need to work on to be more mindful.
Mindfulness has been described as seemingly religious or ‘spiritual’. The reason for this is because it has been practiced in the Buddhist faith. It can also be ‘started’ by using a gong and ‘fininshed’ using a gong. These parallels to should not put you off trying mindfulness.
Being mindful takes practice.
I hope I haven’t put you off already, but sadly, being mindful isn’t that easy. Just like meditation, you don’t just ‘start’ being mindful. It is a process and you become better and better at it.
If you have thoughts when trying to be mindful about ‘what’s the point in this’, ‘what am I getting for dinner tonight’, ‘oh my big toe actually hurts’. You are not alone. Thoughts come, feelings come. You have the ability to let them go, without judging why they came, where they came from or beating yourself up about how you can’t do mindfulness.
How to be mindful –
These are the 4 key ways that you can try and be mindful. It is not just siting in a room and trying to ‘be’ and letting your thoughts pass you by. Sitting in a room waiting for a gong to strike can be the most unmindful thing you could do today, if you are not in the right place to engage in it. Your thoughts may race in a quiet room, your mind may wander because you don’t give yourself space to be quiet. You may have intrusive thoughts that ordinarily you bat away with distraction and just life.
Mindfulness is something to be tried, attempted and rehearsed. Only you can work out what is best for you. One day doing mindful describing might bring you to a zen place and the next day maybe you need some mindful observation. Every day you feel different and need different things for your mind.
If you want to start a mindfulness practice, you have to be prepared to keep trying it, set it in your routine and get past the difficult bits. Whatever you chose to do with mindful practice, it will challenge you as well as help to bring your thoughts into a place that isn’t somewhere else.
If you struggle to sit still and ‘listen’ to your own stillness, maybe you are filling life up with too much and mindfulness is not for you without guidance. A mindful experience, describing or activity may be more up your street if sitting still isn’t your game. If you can’t stay focussed on a mindful experience (walking or eating) then maybe you need more mindfulness and relaxation than you ever knew!
Before I give you the skills to actually ‘be’ mindful’.
Identify a time when you want to practice. Lunch break. Brushing your teeth. In the gym (working out at home/run). Without doing regular practice, it won’t ever become that useful to you.