If you don’t have a mindfulness practice, you may be overwhelmed with how to start. I know I was in the beginning. I think fear kept me away from practicing for a long time. Fear of what I really don’t know. I was introduced to meditation a long time ago but I just didn’t “get it”. When I was introduced to mindfulness, I “got it” almost immediately. For me, this is the distinction: Meditation is something I would practice once a day and then be done. Mindfulness is something I practice (formally) each day then try to practice it in little ways through out my day.
Making a commitment to set aside time is the biggest challenge, I think. Just starting is super hard. Making the decision to do it then telling someone you’re going to do it, can help. That way you feel accountable to another person. Maybe there’s someone who you think would like to try it with you. Here’s how I did it:
I took one minute (you got it, ONE MINUTE) every day to sit, close my eyes, and pay attention the the up and down of my belly as I breathed. Set a timer. One minute. I promise you, even after one minute you will see a difference. Try to do this every day for a week.
Once you’ve done one minute every day for a week, double it!! Do 2 minutes. You can do “mindful brushing of teeth” or “mindful showering”. The idea is to be in that moment (or two) and focus on what’s happening. Mindful breathing is paying attention to the breath coming in and going out. Mindful brushing of teeth would be to feel the brush in your mouth, on your gums, cheek, tongue. Feeling the brush moving around your mouth. Mindful showering would be to feel the drops of water falling on your head, your face, your feet. Feeling the shampoo turn to bubbles as your hands rub it into your hair. And so on. When thoughts come into your head, know that it’s ok and normal and will happen. If you can, just imagine that you’re putting that thought on a cloud and it’s floating away. Then return to what you were focusing on.
For me, I reached a point when I felt differently if I didn’t practice. I felt a little less patient. I felt a little more tired. I felt a little more anxious. When I realized that I hadn’t practiced that day, I would quickly find the time to do so.
Try it. Baby steps. I’ll come back with some other steps to take so you can build a practice. If you care to, share how you feel in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you.