A Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness
Featured on The Essential Life
Here at The Essential Life, we are HUGE advocates of living a life in Mindfulness. The practice of Mindfulness is something that I personally started a few years ago & since then it has become a large part of my life. Through Mindfulness & Mindful Meditation, I have been able to focus on living in the present moment which allows me to let go of the confusion of the past & to banish stressful thoughts of potential negativity in the future.
If you're just starting out on your own Mindful journey, knowing exactly what Mindfulness is & where to start with your own practice can be difficult. The following tips will help you navigate the beginnings of your own Mindfulness Practice & start you on your Wellness Journey.
Mindfulness Tips for Beginners
Practice & Strengthen your Concentration
In the practice of Mindfulness, concentration is what anchors you to the present moment. Concentration is the substance of Mindfulness & you cannot have Mindfulness without concentration.
When you are starting out with Mindfulness, the very first step is working on your concentration in order to eliminate distractions. Without concentration, you will find that you mind wonders. It wonders into the past or meanders along a path toward the future & things which have not yet happened. Without concentration, your mind is distracted & you will not be able to find contentment in the present.
To improve your concentration, we recommend trying Meditation. As you Meditate, if you feel your mind start to wonder focus your mind & your thoughts on your breath as you inhale it & then exhale it. Continue to focus on your breathing until you feel that your mind is no longer pulling away from the present.
Develop Your Meditation Practice by Focusing on Meditation Objects
Focus & Meditation are important parts of Mindfulness. In Meditation, a great way to focus your mind is to add an object to your Meditation practice.
If you're new to Meditation as well, it's a good idea to start with Mindful breathing. Mindful breathing is similar to the practice mentioned above in that you focus your attention on every inhale & exhale. As you continue with this breathing exercise, you will feel your mind become calm & quiet.
When you first get started with Mindful breathing, take 10-15 minutes out of your day, twice each day, to sit in a quite space & focus on your breathing. Throughout your day, stop once each hour & do the same thing for 30-60 seconds. Continuing this practice of Mindful breathing for 3-4 weeks will help to create a habit of Mindfulness.
Once you've master Mindful breathing, if you'd like to move onto other forms of Mindful Meditation, you can experiment with Mindful walking, Mindful eating & other Wellbeing practices. We recommend that you continue Mindful breathing even once you're settled & comfortable in your Mindfulness practice. For us, Mindful breathing is the foundation of our Mindfulness practice & we continue to practice Mindful breathing on a daily basis.
Start by Sitting
As your Mindfulness practice continues & evolves, you will find that it becomes a habit & it is easy to slip into a Mindful state of mind no matter what you are doing or where you are. In the beginning, however, you will still be training yourself to focus on the present moment & to slip into Mindfulness.
In the beginning, sitting during Mindful Meditation & Mindful breathing makes it much easier to quiet your mind. We have found that, in our own Mindfulness practice, sitting during Meditation is still the pillar of our Meditation practice.
Don't Rush or Push Yourself Too Hard
Mindfulness is more than just a way of thinking that lets go of the past & the future to focus on the present. It is also a state of mind where all judgement is suspended.
While we typically look at passing judgement as something we do to others, it is also something that we do to ourselves. In order to be successful in your Mindfulness practice, it is important not to put pressure on yourself through judgement of your own practice.
In all of the Wellness that we talk about, we want to stress that individuality of the journey. This holds true in Aromatherapy, Meditation & so much more. In moments when you feel frustrated with yourself, instead of putting pressure on yourself to improve your practice, re-focus your mind & take pleasure in your Wellness journey.
Make Mindfulness Your Priority
As you start out with Mindfulness, you will find that it is the antithesis of your old habits & coping strategies. For this reason, if you don't prioritise your Mindfulness practice, you are in jeopardy of not succeeding or moving forward with Mindfulness.
When we talk about making Mindfulness a priority what we mean is that we have to focus our conscious mind on remembering to practice Mindfulness. Some of the individuals in our Wellness community set up reminders in their mobile phones to force themselves to remember to take the time our to be Mindful.
As you continue to prioritise Mindfulness, it will become a habit. Habits are where we invest most of our subconscious energy. As you develop Mindfulness, this new practice will be at odds with old habits & will compete for the same level of energy & attention. Until Mindfulness is a habit, it is important to consciously choose it over other existing habits.
The Modern world is a fast-paced environment where we are constantly in a hurry or in a rush. Mindfulness is about not rushing. It's about slowing down & enjoying the moment. One of the most important things to remember when you are just getting started with Mindfulness is not to let yourself rush. Instead, make a conscious effort to slow down & take in each moment.
The most important thing to do when you are starting out with Mindfulness is to keep going. Everyone's journey is different & there will likely be times when you feel discouraged or frustrated. It is in those moments that your Mindfulness practice is strengthened by your persistence to keep going & to grow within the framework of Mindfulness.
If you have any questions or comments about getting started with your own Mindfulness practice, make yourself heard in the comments. You can also reach out to us via email at info@TheEssentialLife.org. We would also like to invite all of our readers to make their mark on The Essential Life by becoming one of our contributors. If you have words of wisdom that you would like to share with The Essential Life community & you'd like to see your articles featured here on The Essential Life blog, please submit your articles here.