“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.” - Sylvia Boorstein
By engaging in daily mindfulness practices, we gradually develop tools that can serve us throughout our lives. For just a moment, bring to mind a difficult situation (no matter how small or big) in your life that you feel you didn’t handle with the best judgement or grace. Over time, our practice gives us tools in our tool belt to use when we inevitably encounter these situations again. Small, steady steps of mindfulness help us calibrate our internal (and external) reactions to stressors, as well as help us engage with the people and the world around us. And when we are truly engaged, we can begin to relax and enjoy our lives.
Your addition for mindfulness last week was to carry an object with you that invokes joy and to practice watching your breath 3-5 times a day. Now that we have established this daily practice, we can begin to build onto it. Traditionally, it is considered most beneficial when a mindfulness practice can be done as early as possible in our day. But I believe establishing a practice and making it consistent is more important than the time of day that you do it. So whenever you are able to in your day, grab your joyful object and try the following:
1 - Grab a notebook, journal, or piece of paper and something to write with. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and put your pen/pencil to the page. Start moving that writing utensil. What comes out might be words, or doodles, or lines. Whatever comes out, let it come out, even if it’s “I don’t know what to write.” The idea is to allow whatever is happening in your mind come out, without editing (stream of consciousness writing). This is not meant to be read by you or anyone else (unless you would like to).
When your timer goes off, set your pen/pencil down, set another timer for 5 minutes (maybe pull out your “Breathe +” app), and practice your breathing.
This is a simple 10 minutes of your day. Whether you add this to the beginning, middle, or end of your day, take note of how you are feeling after this exercise. Over time, this can serve as a reset or reframing for your mind.
2 - Remember any little bit of mindfulness serves you in a positive way. What we will start becoming aware of through this month is our reactions. Begin to notice how quickly you react to people and things around you. Just notice.
When you encounter a difficult or tension filled experience during your day, mentally pause. If you are around people contributing to your experience, take one deep breath before continuing. Then when you have a moment, set the timer on your phone for 1 minute and practice your conscious breathing.
In this challenge, we are asking you to add many things to your daily schedule. Reflect on these changes you have made in the last week. Take note of how these new habits are affecting your state of being (mentally, physically, and emotionally). You may feel empowered and motivated, or you may feel resistant. Whatever your experience, take note without placing judgement and keep at it. Remember your reason and inspiration for embarking on this journey of change. You are only at the beginning. Share your experience with us and ask questions on our Facebook and Instagram pages. We are here as a community to support each other!