We can all agree that every mind needs more mindfulness… but what does that even mean?
Mindfulness refers to the process of bringing one’s attention to the present moment. It’s not necessarily one more activity we need to add to our day, but rather, the practice of bringing more awareness to the activities that already fill our days.
Think 4-Hour work week: a way of de-cluttering our mind and being more authentic and efficient in our thought patterns.
Mindfulness is a reset button, not a start button. And the practice doesn’t have a time limit – if you feel like you need a minimum or maximum boundary, that’s all up to you.
The perks of being an instructor are numerous, and one of them is the little commute breaks between classes. Set aside time at the start, end, and during your day, to simply breathe. The practice of meditation and training will help us return to the habit of awareness.
As infants, we all started our lives staring into space, breathing. But since then we’ve adapted to lifestyles that aren’t always healthy. Most of us build up a lot of steam in our daily lives. It may help to think of mindfulness as a “smoke-break,” and to dedicate an area to the practice, whether it’s your car or a local park bench, find a place where you can give yourself the chance to burn some steam on a regular basis.
Well, back up. COME WITHOUT AN AGENDA. Start by getting comfortable, preferably in a seated position, and simply focus on the breath. See if you can slow down the rhythm of your breath. Perhaps even place one hand on the abdomen and the other on your chest. See if you can breathe into the bottom hand. Then deepen the inhale and take an even longer exhale. You cannot stop the thoughts and it’s ok to acknowledge them. Listen to them if you feel like there’s something worth hearing, and one by one, let the thoughts dissolve.
When we increase the quality of the breath, the quality of the thoughts typically increases as well. And the quality of our lives is rarely far behind the quality of our thoughts.
If you find it impossible to calm the mind, take things up or down a notch. Go get some exercise (teaching doesn’t count!) and try again. Or grab an eye mask, blankets, headphones and/or cushions and wrap yourself in a cozy cocoon. If none of this helps it may be time for a bigger, external shift, which any of these may be able to help reveal or inspire:
- learning new skills
- physical training with a coach (virtual or real)
- brainstorming or discussing a concept of interest
- trying out new hobbies
- visiting new places
- changing up your daily routine, or installing one
No doubt we are all in debt when it comes to paying attention. But just keep showing up, and eventually, little acts of mindfulness will truly blow your mind.