We have all heard this word and we have all put it off in favor of almost anything else. Perhaps you are one of the many who has said "mindfulness just isn't for me". Well, I am here to challenge you on that.
The basic principle of mindfulness is to "be" instead of constantly "doing". In order to do this, sitting in silence is a must but you can listen to guided meditations, music, or focus on an object like a candle. BUT here is the trick that will get even the busiest of minds to give mindfulness another go. Being mindful is a muscle. Your muscle is weak.
That's it. Nothing mindblowing. But knowing this means that you can approach accessing mindfulness the same way you would build a muscle - slowly, consistently, and accepting weakness. You don't need me to tell you the benefits or WHY you should have a regular mindfulness practice. You will find millions of other articles with just a quick google search.
This article is, in my opinion, everything you need to get going. You are not your thoughts and it's been long enough that it's felt that way. It's time to take space and start choosing which thoughts you give power to. So here it is.
Your Mindfulness Cheat Sheet
First, this is honestly one of the most valuable uses of your time. I tip my cap to you for being brave enough to try something new.
Second, is my list of mindfulness resources. Before you look through it all, I wanted to remind you of a couple of things:
You will fail. Like learning any new skill, you can’t expect to be perfect at it right off the bat. In the process of learning a new skill, show yourself the compassion and non-judgement you show others. Many years of experiences have led to your current coping style, it’s going to take some time to adjust to a new way of being.
Pick times that work for you. Mornings are great because they can set the tone of the day but the more you can develop a routine around the things in your life, the better. This included.
Put your trust in me. I have been doing this a while. If you commit to just a few short weeks of doing this everyday, I don’t doubt for a second that you will feel the benefits of this. 5 minutes per day is GREAT, 10 minutes is better! I also suggest trying some guided meditations in the start as I consider these a gateway to other more internal practices.
Tips for practicing at home:
Put your phone on silent! If you have roommates/noisy family, request privacy.
You can do it lying down (on the floor though, the bed is waaay to likely to result in naps) or sitting. I recommend sitting on a pillow as you are less likely to fall asleep.
IF you fall asleep, you probably needed it! Try again tomorrow.
Every time you catch yourself getting lost in a thought, you’ve just become more mindful! Don’t beat yourself up about this but congratulate yourself that you noticed, wave goodbye to those thoughts for now, and return to the breath.
I am not sure how you digest information best but here are a wide range of sources. Hopefully one/some of these work for you:
Blogs/Webpages (sometimes it's hard to know where to get good information): https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/
The Mindful Minute is a popular one for beginners.
Headspace - 10 free sessions but very solid starting place
Calm - I personally love the background sounds, timer, AND don't forget to check out Stephen Fry's bedtime story. Not just for kids!
Insight Timer - I like this one because there are loads of free resources and you can see how many people are meditating with you.
Free Guided Meditations (from UCLA) http://marc.ucla.edu/mindful-meditations
This great book comes with a CD with guided meditations on it including a 3 minute check in, body scan, and loving kindness meditation (one of my favs). It also gives some great info on HOW mindfulness works to combat anxiety/depression.
Good luck. Be Patient.
And let me know how it goes!