Mindfulness: Where to Begin
When you start, allow your mind to wander:
Attempts to control your restless thoughts will likely create more restlessness or frustration. Instead, separate yourself from following or judging the thoughts and they will slowly begin to quieten. If they do not, continue to notice the thoughts and become the observer as they pass by. Remember, we are not trying to remove our thoughts or feelings - we are becoming mindful of them.
Your breath is your anchor:
To help quieten a busy mind and stay present, focus on your breath. Begin with a few deep breaths in and out and slowly settle into a comfortable rhythmic pattern of breathing. If your mind wanders, do not worry. Without judgement, bring your attention back to noticing your breath flowing in and out. You may wish to try breathing in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth.
Set a timer:
When beginning something new and unfamiliar, it can be difficult to find the time and to stick to a task. By setting a timer (5-10 minutes) you are creating a commitment to those few minutes for focusing your attention on the present moment. After practising a few times, you may wish to extend your mindfulness time or stop using a timer.
Your way IS the right way:
We each have our own ways of feeling comfortable. You cannot succeed at mindfulness, instead, you practice mindfulness and live with the benefits each day. Some benefits include decreased stress, improved mood and less reactivity. How you choose to be mindful IS the right way.
Create a regular habit:
When practising mindfulness regularly, you will begin to feel the benefits in your daily life. To create a regular habit, attempt to practice at the same time each day and in the same place. Regular mindfulness practice can allow you to feel more in control when stressful situations arise. See below for how to create mindful moments throughout your day.