Start Mindfulness. Today.
You might not feel ready to start seeing a counselor, but you can start mindfulness. Today.
Who should do mindfulness?
You. And your co-workers. And your friend. And your friend's co-workers. You get the idea. Mindfulness is for everyone. If you’re struggling with stress and need coping strategies, try mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is practicing presence. The goal of mindfulness is to be present, to notice and to breathe deeply.
How do I do mindfulness?
1. Sit somewhere comfortable or lie down. Close your eyes and breathe deeply into your belly so that your belly expands outward.
2. Focus your attention on your breath. Breathe at your own pace, but allow your breath to slow down naturally, gradually taking deeper and fuller breaths.
3. Continue to focus your attention on your breath. Almost immediately you can expect to have intruding thoughts. That’s okay. You are not failing at mindfulness, this is actually a part of mindfulness. When a distracting thought comes into your mind, simply notice it, without judgement, and bring your attention back to your breath.
4. Continuing breathing deeply while focusing on your breath for 3-5 minutes; longer if you’re able.
And that’s it!
When should I do mindfulness?
As often as you’d like. Ideally once or twice a day.
I think meditation is boring/I don’t believe in meditation/Shouldn't I pray instead?
These are just a few of the responses I sometimes get to the idea of mindfulness. What I find most helpful to remember is that mindfulness is (necessary) exercise for the mind. If you wanted to get in better physical shape and I recommended that you start exercising, would you say that you don’t believe in exercise (well, maybe you would!) or would you ask if you should pray instead? Mindfulness is not a replacement for prayer; mindfulness helps us to care for the minds that God has given us. So you might find it boring or you may struggle to “believe” in it, but I would challenge you to at least try it for a week or two. See what comes from it and what you notice with a little extra time to just breathe.
Is there an app for that?
There are several. While some prefer to do this without technology, as a good way to unplug, others find that an app helps them stay accountable and offers helpful narratives to lead you through the exercise.
Check out Huffington Post to see what app might work for you.