Mindfulness & building your daily practice
You may have heard about mindfulness, or perhaps even tried it. You may have even decided it’s not for you. Let’s talk about how mindfulness can be tailored to you and applied in a way that suits your lifestyle and personality.
Mindfulness is a proven strategy to:
- Reduce stress, anxiety and depression
- Increase feelings of positivity and wellbeing
- Increase relaxation
- Increase self acceptance, having a positive effect in other aspects of life such as relationships
We often place emphasis on our physical fitness and don’t question that it takes time and regular, formal practice, and that this needs to be ongoing. For our mental fitness, we often tend to give up more quickly if we find it challenging to get into a regular practice, even when we know how good it makes us feel.
Tips to establish a regular mindfulness/meditation practice:
- Choose the room/space you will practise in, and use this every time. The more you can make the environment and actions consistent, the easier it will be for the habit to form, as your body will begin to associate that space with meditation.
- Meditate at the same time every day. Some suggestions are first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Again, this helps to strengthen the habit and make it a part of your normal everyday routine.
- Let others that you live with know that you don’t want to be disturbed while you are meditating. By knowing you won’t be interrupted, it’s easier to take the time out and relax while doing so.
- Be kind to yourself. Some days the task will be harder, but remember you do not have to try to perfect it, and these days you will find the activity even more beneficial.
Essentially, you need to set yourself up so that the task is as easy as possible to complete, so that you will be most likely to do it consistently.
It’s quite common to feel a tendency of wanting to strive for perfection and ‘do it right’. If your mind wanders off or if you lose attention during an activity, it’s so important not to judge yourself as this is completely normal and natural. Our goal is not to attain a perfect state of mind where we eliminate all thought. We are simply learning to watch and observe our thoughts and feelings, notice any patterns and how this impacts our body, and our relationship with these thoughts.
Some ways to achieve mindfulness through ‘me’ time…
- Having a bath
- Reading a book or magazine
- Going for a walk
- Singing, playing or listening to music
- Cooking, painting or dancing
- Adult colouring books
- Yoga, tai chi
- Eating dinner with the family without devices
There are no rules. Just pick something you like and start doing it, wherever and whenever you want, even if it’s just for a few minutes per day. Remember that most of us haven’t been mindful in years, so it’s important not to judge ourselves. With even a couple of minutes of mindfulness, you can approach the rest of your day with more clarity which allows us to be more productive, make better decisions and react better to what the day throws at us. Give it a try!
Accredited Exercise Physiologist