Mindfulness has been a hot topic for a bit and for a good reason. Mindfulness has been shown to have a range of benefits and can improve your physical, mental, and emotional health. Whether you want to practice mindfulness to help you deal better with stress and anxiety, or to help you live a more positive life, you’re likely to have lots of questions.
Here are some answers to the most common questions people have about mindfulness: 1. How do I do it? 2. How do I breathe properly? 3. How do I stop my mind wandering? 4. How do I find the time for mindfulness?
1. How do I do it? The short answer is that you can practice mindfulness and meditation in the way that suits you best. Some people enjoy traditional meditation, sitting in silence on a cushion. Other people use guided meditations on their smartphones or computers. It’s important to integrate mindfulness into your everyday activities, taking the time be genuinely aware of the present moment. You can even practice mindful walking. The best way to practice mindfulness is the way that feels right to you.
2. How do I breathe properly? You may feel like you should force your breath into some pattern or control it in some way, such as trying to slow it down. But that’s not necessary. It’s best just to feel and experience your breath. As you begin to relax, your breathing will naturally slow down and regulate on its own. Try not to judge yourself for not doing it ‘right.’ Don’t try to control or channel your breath, just keep observing and allowing. Simply let the breath breathe you.
3. How do I stop my mind wandering? If you find a way, let me know! It’s natural for your mind to wander or be distracted. Our mind thinks. That’s just what it does. Even highly-experienced mindfulness practitioners have wandering minds! Everyone does! Most of us spend our days worrying about the future or brooding over the past. We don’t often stay in the present, but it is the way to inner peace and calm. Be kind to yourself and don’t judge your mind for falling back into familiar patterns of thinking. Bring your attention back to the present and use your breath to keep bringing your attention back to focus on the here and now.
4. How do I find the time for mindfulness? This one’s easy! You don’t have to set aside special time to bring mindfulness into your life. In fact, you can enhance your formal meditation time by integrating mindfulness practice wherever you are. You can use these prompts throughout the day to return your attention to the present moment and take some deep conscious breaths: • In the shower • During your daily commute • Waiting in line, or for an elevator, or for a meeting to start • Before you start your car • While you’re booting up your computer or opening your inbox • While you’re waiting for your coffee • Before answering the phone
Take advantage of all these ‘lost moments’ in your day to turn them into mindful moments!