I recently made a post on social media about the flowers that had bloomed outside my house. Every day I walk in and out of my house at least 3 times, but usually even more than that. I’m carrying toddlers, or my workbags, or my mind is racing about the next thing I have to do.
One night as I was sitting out on the front step, I had a realization—there were huge flowers that had popped up all along the pathway. Gorgeous purple, white, green flowers that were lush and vibrant. I was shocked since I hadn’t noticed the plants growth at all.
I asked my husband when the plants had actually come up—last week he said. So I had been walking in and out of my house for about a week and a half and never noticed these big beautiful plants popping up and out of the ground!
I was so in my own head and my own worries that I had missed the flowers that popped up right in front of me.
It was then that I thought about how mindLESS I had been. Mindfulness is just the opposite of how I was acting. Mindfulness is the act of staying present, making a conscious decision to stay aware of what is happening in the moment. So often our anxieties, worries, or our to do lists take us away from what is currently in front of us and into worrisome places in the future.
Mindfulness helps us to not be at war with what we are thinking or feeling, but to more simply notice and pay attention to it. And the practice of mindfulness is clinically proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Here are 3 tips in order to begin practicing mindfulness in this very moment
- Take In Your Surroundings: Sometimes it’s just that simple. Stop in this moment and take in the sights, the sounds, the colors and smells around you. Breathe them in. Is there something in your space that you haven’t noticed before? Something new and invigorating?
- Place No Judgment On Your Thoughts: This is a more difficult tip. So often we fight with our own thoughts and feelings, believing that we “shouldn’t” be having them. Mindfulness invites us to look at ourselves from a different lens. There is no right or wrong to your feelings and thoughts. Yes, there is stress and sadness and hopeless feelings and these may be difficult, but if we fight with them we can intensify the feelings. Pay attention to the feeling, be aware, process and let it go.
- Carve Out Time For Meditation: Many times people say that they’re not “good” at meditation but truthfully there is not a good or bad way to be in meditation. You’re only practicing being present and quiet in yourself. One of the simplest ways to begin this practice is to start small. Take just 5 minutes to sit, be still, and recenter. We like using an app for this if you’re just starting out; “Calm” is a great option which offers many different types and lengths of meditations. You can also focus your thoughts on a mantra, matching your breath to the phrase. For example, breathing in “I am calm” and breathing out “I am strong”, and repeating this for a set length of time.
Practice these few steps and we guarantee you will begin to notice changes in how you experience the world and yourself.