Mindfulness 101

In recent years the words “mindfulness” and “meditation” have become quite a bit more mainstream. But, what do they mean? Are they the same or different from one another?

It’s funny to me that the concepts of meditation have been around for as long as thousands of years and it’s just now becoming popular. Meditation started around the time that yoga did. They pretty much went hand in hand. So, why now?

If you want more information on the basic terms and some videos to try out, visit our previous Mindfulness blog post HERE.

First of all, this can be whatever you want to make of it. The point of being mindful is to gain more awareness of your own body, as well as your surroundings. The actual definition of mindfulness is a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. This can mean a million different things. You don’t have to have a spiritual experience, however, if you want to include this piece – go for it. This is just like a workout. It can be tailored to meet your needs every time you do it.

A lot of people make the assumption that meditation and mindfulness have to be on a mat, sitting with your hands in the “Om” position on your knees, candles glowing and trying to clear your mind completely. While it CAN look like that, it doesn’t have to! Here are some other ideas of what a mindfulness practice can look like:

  • Nature walk – Wait. I don’t have to be sitting still for this?! Nope. If you are a person whose mind constantly wanders or you know you will be fidgeting like crazy, I’d actually suggest doing something active. During the walk, use every sense possible. Pay attention to sights, smells, the feeling of the wind or crisp air on your skin. Nature walks have been proven to do as much as lower blood pressure, when done consistently. If you’d like an idea of what to do during this walk, here’s a short video you can have playing in your ear buds to practice.
  • Coloring – I’m sure you’ve seen those adult coloring books all over the place now. These can be used for a more focused mindfulness practice. If you start to have a thought come in your head, acknowledge it and then let it go. If it’s something that you just can’t seem to part with, try having a notebook nearby to write the thought down and then return to it after you are done coloring. Try to stay inside of all of the lines and be intentional about the colors you’re choosing. Mindfulness practice means staying aware of the present moment, therefore, make every choice an active one.
  • Breathing – This may seem like a really simple concept. But, the truth is that we rarely remember to breathe a deep full breath all day long. Breathing meditations are a great way to slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and feel a deep sense of calm. HERE is a video explaining how to practice this on your own.

If you’re new, don’t expect to be good at this right away. It takes time. Your mind will wander – that’s okay! But, after a while, your body and your mind start to crave it.

One mindfulness practice will not and should not look like another. Play around with it. As you can see, there is quite the collection on YouTube. Try new things. This should feel like a playground with new equipment every time you go to practice.

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author: Angela Bland