The basics of mindfulness

I keep talking about mindfulness over and over again here on this blog. Recently, I found an excellent article breaking down what this "magical" way of living is. Mindfulness is a practice so it is important to remember that it is something that we must work to achieve everyday. No one can do this mindfulness thing for us - it is something we have to choose to cultivate in our lives every single day. Eventually, our brains learn that this is our first choice in thinking and it can become easier over time. 

Here is a brief overview of how to begin: 

  1. Take a seat. Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.
  2. Set a time limit. If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as 5 or 10 minutes.
  3. Notice your body. You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, in lotus posture, you can kneel—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.
  4. Feel your breath. Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes out and as it goes in.
  5. Notice when your mind has wandered. Inevitably, your attention will leave the sensations of the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing this—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—simply return your attention to the breath.
  6. Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.

I think it is important to note that mindfulness does not have to be done only sitting - you can practice mindfulness as you walk, run (more on that later!), eat, and even practice yoga. Mindfulness embodies the importance of being present - simply awareness of what is going on around you. The more we are mindful the more we have the ability to curate what thoughts we digest or hang onto throughout our day. Here is a link to the article in its entirety. It's worth a read and it is clear and concise!