2: Mindfulness Meditation and Practice

Mindfulness can be life changing once you get into a routine. It is wonderful when you find a time for regular mindful practice that suits you. Getting started with a routine can be hard, though, amongst the day to day distractions of our busy lives. For many people, the best times are early in the morning, in a break at lunchtime or in the evening just before sleep.

If you are struggling to complete your daily mindfulness practice you can:

  • See if you prefer being mindful with a friend or in a group. A like-minded friend can help to maintain your motivation. Nowadays, that friend could be on the other side of the world on a computer screen.
  • Use an aid such as an audio book or a meditation on YouTube. For example, some YouTube videos use a dot that grows and shrinks in time with your mindful breathing.
  • For many people, being part of a regular group can help with motivation week to week. Find a local group or instructor such as my own MeetUp group in Hawthorn, Melbourne. Find someone whose approach feels right for you and don’t be afraid to walk away if the group doesn’t meet your needs. Groups are sometimes advertised in the local paper or there may be local supported community groups. A good group can also give you emotional support and you can share ideas for practice and have fun too!
  • Create your own ‘care’ schedule and stick with it. This might mean being flexible within your working, family, caring and friendship schedules. You can always find 10 minutes in the day to spend on yourself even if it means locking yourself in the smallest room!

Your mindful practice is a journey. Try to be mindful each day and STAY WITH IT. You may sometimes miss a day or two of mindfulness exercises and, if this happens, it isn’t a disaster, it’s just life. One core principle is practicing ACCEPTANCE. This acceptance involves being kind and forgiving towards yourself. So, if you miss a meditation or a mindful exercise, just make an effort to get back into the routine again the next day. Remember, you can always find a few minutes each day. The best thing is, the more regularly you practice mindfulness, the easier it is to keep your routine going.

There are many TECHNIQUES to practice mindfulness. Here is a body sensation mindfulness exercise.

  • Body sensations. Take time to notice your body’s subtle sensations (such as an itch, a pressure point or tingling) without judgement and let them pass. Notice each part of your body starting from your head through your torso to your toes.

My Mindful Mondays group starts on Monday 18 February at the SWell Centre in Hawthorn, Melbourne. Find me on MeetUp at https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/Mindfulness-with-Kate/. More from this blog next month!

Is Mindfulness Right For Me?

Do you ever:

  • find yourself running from one thing to another, feeling rushed, stressed and worried?
  • feel you need some time and space to relax and take stock and put things into perspective?
  • find that some things trigger feelings of anxiety and not being in control?

That’s where mindfulness comes in.

What Is Mindfulness Anyway?

Mindfulness is a toolkit that helps you understand, tolerate and develop awareness of your emotions and the ‘automatic’ responses you often use. Mindfulness then helps you alter your habitual responses. It trains your brain to pay attention to the present moment and all the little things that are occurring around you. In this way, you can take pauses from your busy life and learn to take more control over your emotions and your emotional triggers.

How Does Mindfulness EMPOWER Me?

Using Mindfulness principles through meditation and short exercises can shift your thoughts away from your usual worries. They can give you an appreciation of the moment and give you a larger perspective on life.

By implementing mindful practice you can bring improvements to your physical and psychological symptoms and create positive changes in health, attitude and behaviour.

What BENEFITS Can Mindful Practice Bring Me?

  • Mindfulness can improve your well-being. It allows you to become more engaged in activities. It gives you a greater capacity to deal with adversity. It helps you to be less concerned about self-esteem and develop deeper personal connections with others.
  • It can improve your physical health by lowering blood pressure and improving sleep habits. It can relieve stress, alleviate gastrointestinal issues, reduce chronic pain and even treat heart disease.
  • Mindfulness can improve your mental health and be an element in treating psychological issues. These issues may include depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, relationship conflict, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation in which you pay attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment.

Where Do I Start?

There are many TECHNIQUES to practice mindfulness. Here is a simple breath mindfulness that you could start with.

  • Breath mindfulness meditation

Sit quietly and focus on your breathing or perhaps on a positive word, or mantra (such as ‘happiness’, ‘calm’ or ‘relax’), that you repeat silently. Allow any thoughts you have to come and go without judgement and return to your focus on breathing or mantra. Try to do this each day for five minutes.

My Mindful Mondays group starts on Monday 18 February at the SWell Centre in Hawthorn, Melbourne. Find me on MeetUp at https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/Mindfulness-with-Kate/. More from this blog next week!