Today I throw myself into the dangerous world of blogging in order to share my learning journey about mindfulness.
A few disclaimers before I start…
- I am not a medical professional,
- I am not a professional of any kind, except possibly a professional procrastinator,
- It might be a good idea to consult with a doctor or mental health professional before doing any of the crazy things I’m going to suggest are good for you.
Maybe you’ve heard about this mindfulness thing before in a book, maybe you know someone who practices it, or maybe you have absolutely no clue what mindfulness is and you only clicked on this post to look at the pretty pictures. I want to clear up a few things about mindfulness:
- What is mindfulness?
- Is mindfulness for you?
- How do you start?
I recently moved away from home to start at a new college and apart from learning facts and figures in all my classes, I also a learned a lot about myself. I started to find that a lot of the things I did, thoughts I had, and feelings I felt were based in anxiety. One of the things that helped me the most was practicing mindfulness. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, mindfulness isn’t a one time thing that fixes your life, it’s an ongoing process.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness refers to a state of consciousness where a person purposely focuses their awareness on something non-judgmentally. Mindfulness originated in Eastern meditation practices and is now becoming more commonly used as a therapeutic technique for many mental health conditions. Mindfulness is a way to notice thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without applying criticisms or comments. The goal is simply to notice and experience with compassion for yourself. In the long run, mindfulness reduces feelings of worry and anxiety. It increases feelings of well-being and in some cases can improve physical health.
Is mindfulness for you?
Please read the following criteria. Make note of how many apply to you:
- I often have thoughts
- Sometimes, I feel emotions
- I can get stressed out
- I like to eat food
- I breathe
How many of these apply to you? One? Two? All five? If a minimum of ONE applies to you then mindfulness could add value to your life. Although mindfulness is often used to help people who suffer from mental illness, no matter who you are, or how you experience life, mindfulness can help you see your everyday in a new way.
How do you start?
Meditating is one great way to start your mindfulness practice. Every day this week, for five minutes a day, sit quietly and take time for yourself. Give it a try. Start right now. I dare you.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes
- Focus on what your breath feels like, where it comes from, how it sounds
- Have thoughts involuntarily
- Acknowledge your thoughts and then go back to focusing on your breathing
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 until your timer goes off
- Pat yourself on the back
Was that uncomfortable? Yeah, for me too. So what’s the point? Aren’t there better things to be doing in 5 minutes? I know I can think of a few: scrolling through Facebook, daydreaming, picking your nose.
Why is this 5 minutes a day so magically helpful? What will mindfulness actually do to change your life? I’ll explain more in my next post. In the meantime, give mindfulness a shot. After all, I think picking your nose can wait until next week.
Did you try mindfulness meditation? What did you think?