Practicing Mindfulness

Practicing Mindfulness

It's hard to fit everything you need to do into the 24 hours a day that you're given. The pressure of trying to keep up can be overwhelming. A popular technique to keep you grounded is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a process of learning to be present and aware of your thoughts and feelings without passing judgement. With mindfulness, you can start taking time to reconnect with yourself, your thoughts and emotions. You can ground yourself in the now so that the stress doesn't take over and the enjoyment of your life you doesn't disappear completely.

In order to practice mindfulness, you need to make it a priority. It's easy to let self-care slip down your to-do list until its right at the bottom and you never have the time for it. Make the time. You won't be able to do anything on your list if you let yourself get bogged down and depressed. Not only that, but your health can suffer as well. Self-care is important and it needs to be a priority for you every day. Even just doing something small, like starting to meditate or just closing your eyes and breathing, can make a big difference in your day-to-day life, and in your physical and mental health. Mindfulness can reduce your stress, improve your sleep and concentration, and even slow aging!

Start Small

When you're busy, stressed and have a lot on your mind, it can be hard to make the time for a big lifestyle change. But mindfulness doesn't have to be a big change. Start small. You can set a timer for five minutes twice a week to begin practicing. There is no excuse for not setting aside such a small amount of time to start looking after yourself. As you get used to this routine, gradually add more days or lengthen the timer. Small changes to your routine and your approach to life can soon add up to big impacts.

Try These Options

If you find that traditional meditation isn't for you, find another option. There are apps to help you find a good headspace. For a different approach to being more present and relaxed, take five minutes to step outside and see what's around you, smell the scents and note the changes in the day. Find that thing or a special spot that helps you feel peaceful and you'll soon start to crave those minutes and those moments.

Your Routine

There is no right way to practice, but an approach that helps your mind slow down and gets you in tune with your body is the goal. During your practice, recognize what is around you and your thoughts and feelings. Be accepting of yourself and stay in the moment. If distractions happen, acknowledge them and then go back to your practice. 

Recap

Start your mindfulness practice with five minutes, twice a week using one of the following techniques:

  • meditation
  • breathing
  • go outside
  • watch the world around you
  • take a walk
  • sit in a special spot
  • aromatherapy/breathing in relaxing scents
  • take a bath or shower

Practicing mindfulness in a busy world with a full schedule comes down to you making time and putting yourself high up on that list of priorities that has taken over your life. Start small so that it doesn't seem overwhelming, but start. Don't wait for some random date in the future to begin making the steps that will bring you back to yourself and back into balance. You'll thank yourself for it!  

For resources on mindfulness in pregnancy or birth, check out these books:

Julie Olson