What the Heck is Mindfulness and How Do I Do It?
One question I often get asked is, “How do you know if you’re doing ‘mindfulness‘ correctly?”
It’s an important question because it’s an essential step in changing anxiety to inner peace, stress to productivity, insecurity into confidence or relationship struggles into healthy connection.
So, what is mindfulness?
Go to the kitchen and get a cracker, a piece of chocolate or something small to eat. Yep, right now. I’ll wait.
Take the piece of chocolate or cracker and begin noticing what you become aware of when you hold it. Use your senses to describe the following. What do you see? What do you feel? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you hear? What do you notice about yourself?
It may go something like this:
“I hear the paper rattling as I unwrap it. I feel the smoothness of the chocolate on my fingers. I smell chocolate. I see a medium dark color and it’s shaped like a drop. I notice my mouth watering. I notice a quietness in my mind as I focus on the chocolate. I taste the sweetness on my tongue as I take a bite. I notice I want another bite.”
You get the picture, right?
Now imagine pausing for a minute and doing the same for your internal experience, perhaps at a time when you’re struggling with stress, sadness, anxiety or relationship struggles.
What do you notice? My thoughts are racing.
What do you notice in your body? My shoulders are tight.
What do you want? I want to be relaxed.
How do you feel? I feel awkward but my mind is quieter.
Noticing simply ‘what is’, with acceptance, is a powerful first step in making any change. This is mindfulness.
I found myself completely stressed out the other day! When I noticed it, I slowed down and took notice. I changed from being caught up in the tornado of my racing thoughts, with no direction, to being the observer of my thoughts and finding the beginnings of a path forward.
I was able to turn my racing mind into a calm, more efficient and effective mind.
I noticed the sensation of the stress in my body and I was able to slow down and breathe into that stress. I was able to quiet my mind, calm my body and move forward with solutions.
The first chapter in my book is on Mindfulness as a concept. It’s the first step and it’s essential. I hope you found this helpful.