Mindfulness is all the rage right now, and it’s one area where I feel like I was ahead of the curve. I’ve been actively practicing mindfulness for a long time following a particularly difficult bout of anxiety about 10 years ago. I’ve had my seasons when I’ve gotten away from a daily practice, but I always find myself coming back to what helps me center and catch my breath.
What is mindfulness, anyway?
I love this definition:
Mindfulness: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations
To me, mindfulness is just that: taking time to be where your feet are, take some deep breaths, acknowledge how you are feeling, and tap into your intuition for answers and guidance. When I’m active in my mindfulness practice, good things tend to happen and when less than good things happen, I’m in
What are some of the benefits of mindfulness?
Being mindful has countless benefits. A few scientifically proven ones:
- Reduces stress
- Relieves depression
- Reduces anxiety
- Improves health
- Improves decision-making
Perhaps less proven by science, as mentioned above, mindful practice can also help you tap into your intuition and connect with your inner guidance.
It’s important that you find a mindfulness practice that works for you. It may involve experimenting with a few different options to find what you like, but it will ultimately be worth the investment of your time.
Here’s what my mindfulness practice looks like:
I journal most mornings. I’ve always been someone who writes to work through what I’m thinking and
Practicing gratitude is the single most important thing we can do for ourselves. When you’re grateful for what you have, more good tends to come into your life. When you’re feeling especially down and out, a pause to give thanks for what’s around you can drag you out of the doldrums. There is always something to be grateful for: a roof over your head and food in your fridge can often be taken for granted. I start my journaling off by listing three things I’m grateful for that day, and I use the notes section of my planner to write something I’m grateful for that occurred the previous day before moving on to that day’s schedule and to-do list.
I set intentions and try to remind myself of them throughout the day. One way I do that is through the ThinkUp app. It gives the user an option to choose from their intentions, or to set your own, and then prompts you to record them in your own voice. You then set reminders within the app to listen back to them with the idea that they are more powerful if you hear yourself saying them. I also write them out in my journal and often post them where I can see them, such as on my bathroom mirror.
A recent discovery for me has been the Shine app. I followed them on Instagram for a while before I realized they were an app. Each weekday, I get a prompt to spend 5 or so minutes reading the day’s Shine Tex and checking in with gratitude. You can also sign up for a membership to enroll in their challenges. I haven’t signed up, but I’m enjoying the free offerings enough to recommend it to you.
One of my goals for 2019 is to meditate 10 minutes a day. I’ve already missed a few days, but I’m a work in progress. Meditating lets me turn my mind off, and my mind? It’s a busy, busy place. I do pray daily. I pray at night, but I also say little prayers throughout the day. God and I have had a lot of conversations while I’m brushing my teeth or taking a shower. Sometimes I’ll go for a walk when the weather is nice and use that as my meditation and prayer time.
Read the Bible
I read the Bible every night. I invested in the She Reads Truth Bible at the beginning of 2018, and it has truly helped me dive into God’s word. I follow the plans at the beginning of each chapter and it’s always 10 minutes right before bed well-spent. I’ve grown a lot in my faith over the last year, and I attribute a lot of that to my nightly Bible readings.
As mentioned above, it’s important that, should you decide to add a mindfulness practice to your life, you experiment until you find one that works for you. Mine may seem lengthy, but I assure you, it isn’t. It’s a few minutes in the morning, a few minutes at night, and choosing to push pause once or twice throughout the day to read something inspirational or take a few breaths. Some people may do yoga or go for a run. Find what works for you to get your mind to slow down and your body to breathe into the moment.
Do you have a mindful practice? What does it look like?