Mindfulness: How To Get StartedJun 19, 2021
I am asked, on repeat, what is the most effective way to overcome anxiety? As you know – I don’t believe we will ever be anxiety FREE… That is impossible. But we sure as heck can live a life we love despite the occasional episode of anxiety. And the one sure fire way of achieving that is learning to accept anxiety into our lives. Mindfulness is, hands down, the most effective way to do this. So let’s talk mindfulness: How to get started.
But Mindfulness Doesn’t Work For Me
Most of my clients will say that they have tried mindfulness and it didn’t work for them. And when we dive a little deeper we see that, actually, they didn’t really give mindfulness a proper go. Most of them had a skewed idea of what it meant to be mindful and so they didn’t quite understand what it was they were trying to achieve.
Maybe that is you?
One misconception is that Mindfulness = Meditation.
And many people who are anxious really struggle with meditation. They feel to “antsy” and edgy and then get more anxious about the fact they aren’t “doing mindfulness properly”.
Well… Mindfulness practice can include meditation but, good news, mindfulness is not only about meditation. More on that later.
Another false belief is that mindfulness means being able to quieten the mind. And while the side effect of consistent practice is certainly a quieter mind, the aim is not to have no thoughts going on.
We are talking mindFULness here. Not mindEMPTYness. So any attempt to “empty the mind” is not exactly mindfulness practice.
Lastly, most clients with stuck anxiety feel that their anxiety actually increases when they try practice mindfulness.
In large, thats because they haven’t quite understood what to do just yet. But is also has to do with the fact that a quieter mind leaves more room for all those bits and bobs that you have been trying to avoid to pop up. And that causes anxiety.
Mindfulness: What Is It?
So mindfulness, pure and simple, is the act of being present, with curiosity and acceptance.
Let’s unpack that a little.
Curiosity means exploring. It means we are eager to know more. And the mere act of being curious means that we are accepting the current state and wanting to dive into it. We can use this acceptance to lean in an listen to anxiety as explained in this article.
Acceptance means we leave judgments at the door. No “this is bad”, “I’m not doing this properly” thoughts. Those are judgements.
When we are mindful of the present then we are exploring it and we are simply accepting everything we observe to be just as it is.
And the art of mindfulness?
Well that is consistently bringing your mind back from all the worries, thoughts, negative judgments, planning, etc. and placing your attention on the present.
Really! It’s as simple as that.
This video explains the art of mindfulness and our 1 strategy in more detail:
Mindfulness: How To get Started
The simplest way to get started with mindfulness based practice is to keep bringing your awareness back to the present. That’s all.
If you are out and about – catch yourself and bring yourself to the present. Notice what you can see, hear, smell and touch around you. And then continue on your way.
try to do this as many times a day as you can.
The art of mindfulness is a practice that needs exercise. The more you practice it, the easier and more automatic it becomes.
Try catch yourself in the morning while you are getting ready for work. Grab a mindful moment when you have your morning tea. And lunch. And dinner.
In fact, catch yourself whenever you can and get present.
Imagine your mindfulness as being a muscle that you want to exercise. And each time you bring your mind back to the present moment – thats a flex in the muscle and strengthening it.
And remember to use your 5 senses to help you get totally present in the moment.
Your Next Steps
I challenge you today to give this a try and include some mindfulness practice at least once a day. This easy strategy is simple enough to implement anywhere and anytime.
And the more you practice the better you get at being mindful.
I guarantee that once you have made this act more of a habit, meditation and deeper mindfulness based practices will become second nature…
And we can guide you into those with EASE. Just book a freedom call with this link to get started.