NE Life Coach and Mindfulness
Was mindfulness one of your New Year Resolutions? Are you in the 80% of the population who will have given up on their resolutions by now? Often this is because we don’t clearly explore why it is we want to set that resolution, we don’t dig in to what we are planning to achieve from it. In other words, we don’t set our intention.
There are many definitions of mindfulness; the Oxford Mindfulness Centre offers this ‘mindfulness is moment to moment experience of one’s experience without judgement.’
Knowing what it means doesn’t really help with getting started though, especially when a google search of a definition yields over 11 million results!
Set your intention.
Mindfulness takes time and effort; it doesn’t just happen. If you are going to persevere in applying this effort over time, it certainly helps to have a clear intention. The same is true when setting any goal or taking up any new practice. Be very clear about why you are beginning to explore mindfulness; what is it that you hope to gain from it? It may help to ask yourself some questions:
- Why do I want to practice mindfulness?
- What would I like to see more or and less of in my life?
- What is it that I’m looking to create in or add to my life?
- How will I know if it’s working?
- Developing a mindfulness practice is important to me because……
Be kind to yourself
Creating any new habit takes time and a certain degree of discipline. There will be times when your commitment to it will wane or when it feels too much. That’s OK. Tell yourself that it’s OK. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself and allow yourself to follow the natural flow of developing this. If 10 minutes feels too much, try 3, if 3 minutes feels too much, try 1 minute. Showing yourself this compassion will help you stick with it!
Take it slow
It can be tempting to dive in thinking ‘yep, I can easily do this for 30 minutes. Remember point 2? Be kind to yourself? Try starting with 2 or 3 minutes, each day, every day. This will be much easier to accomplish. You may then want to try it for a couple of times a day before you start increasing the length of time. These short meditations are so helpful in embedding the new habit. The repetition of this act of practising mindfulness reinforces the brain’s creation of a new pathway and habit. Simply following your breath, in and out, noticing how it feels, noticing where you feel it, noticing when the in breath becomes the out breath is a lovely way to start.
When will you do it?
Specify when you will do this each day. Mark that time specifically for your meditation. This will be much more helpful than tagging it on or finding time for it on the day. Sticking to the same time each day will help too.
Be kind to yourself
Nope, not a typo, I’m putting it in again! Clients often tell me that they cannot meditate, they’ve tried but their mind just wanders. Well, that’s exactly what your mind does. Meditation isn’t about emptying your mind or clearing it; I’m not even sure if that’s possible. Your mind will wander. You will notice when it does. When you notice it be kind to yourself, notice where it went and then just kindly, compassionately bring your focus back to your breath.
When we try to create a new habit, no matter how beneficial it may be, no matter how much we want to create it, it can easily become just another item on your to do list, another chore to complete. Remember why you are doing this, remember why it’s important to you. You may wish to explore where you meditate. If not careful, mindfulness can quickly become another chore to tick off the list so remember your intention and why you are practising.
I began my mindfulness practice a number of years ago and it has been the greatest blessing in my life. Even knowing that, there are still times I resist it. I’ve begun to recognise that as a sign that I really need to spend more time meditating that day and often with the focus ‘what is it that I’m really resisting?’
Being able to allow yourself space and time to sit with your breath, with your thoughts, with you is the one of the greatest gifts you will ever receive.
Free Resources are available on this site to support you in your journey Free Resources
If you would like to chat through this or any of the other ways I can support you to make changes in your life, Contact Lou
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For more information on the Oxford Mindfulness Centre click here.