Quick Mindfulness Guide & Resources
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the experience of being fully present and aware of where we are, what we are doing, and what we are feeling without judgement or overwhelm and instead with curiosity and gentleness.
The key to genuine mindfulness is the process of allowing your experience to be as it is in the moment without latching onto a story (narrative) or attacking the self with judgement. We notice with awareness what the internal experience is, allowing it, investigating it with curiosity, and then allowing it to drift on like leaves down a stream.
For more on WHY you should have a mindfulness practice, check out my post on The Absolute, Stunning Importance of Mindfulness.
7 Mindfulness Practices You Can Do Today
(Entirely on your own!)
Create your own “positive triggers,” as I like to call them. These are also sometimes called “touch points.” When you use the word should, when you touch a doorknob, when you sit down in a chair… Whatever you want the “trigger” or “touch point” to be, allow that to be a moment to tune back into yourself. Breathe for a moment, pause, and allow yourself to relax just a little more.
As you go about your day, make a choice to appreciate a number of things that you normally would not appreciate. We take many things for granted in our culture. Fostering mindful appreciation of these things builds an attitude of gratitude which allows our heart to soar and our health to increase.
Appreciate things like how the mail is delivered each day, the fact that you have a refrigerator, the ease of typing up a report, prepackaged food, whatever you notice. A good goal is three to five things a day.
Mindful breathing exercises focus on the breath. That’s it! All you have to do is breath and stay present. You can do this in a variety of ways. For a detailed post with examples, check out my break down over here! Breathing is one of the quickest ways to calm the mind and stay centered.
Observing mindfully, we slow down and connect with the majesty that is the natural world. When we are in a state of chaos, we do not “stop to smell the roses,” so to speak. By choosing to gaze gently at something in nature, we slow down our entire experience.
The key with all mindfulness is non-judgement. In mindful listening, you listen to any sound from a neutral view with a present awareness unhindered by preconception. Although you may know what a sound is, rather than thinking about it, let it be. Notice how it catches your attention. Be aware of sensations or emotions that surface as you listen to the sound. You can do this with music as well.
Whatever you’re doing, do it with all of your attention. Cleaning? Cooking? Listening to a song? Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment. Notice every aspect of your actions and reactions. Allow the experience to be new even if you’ve done it a thousand times before. Immerse yourself in whatever you are experiencing rather than thinking about it. Align on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.
Loving Kindness Practice
As you sit and breathe, think to yourself, “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful at at ease.” Feel these things deep in your bones. Perhaps, put a hand (or both) on your heart center. Close your eyes and direct that energy into yourself. As you feel whole, begin to think of a friend or someone else who has deeply cared for you. Think, “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.”
You may chose to continue this, picking more people, animals, or plants, to direct your loving kindness to.
If anger, grief, or sadness or other difficult feeling arises, know that your heart is softening and revealing what is held within. Again, allow yourself to feel loving-kindness towards these feelings. There is no need to judge. Simple sit with patience and acceptance for what exists.
Mindfulness Resources & Tools
Recommended Phone Apps
This app is amazing because it is free, tracks your days in a row, and has both guided and “silent” style meditations. You have the flexibility to set up your own timer with interval or ending bells, music or other background sounds, or just a timer. There are some paid premium sounds that might appeal to you, but it is fully functional without these added features.
Headspace is an app which you will need to pay for to get the full benefits. However, you can get 10 days of basic guided meditation and a rotating daily meditation completely for free. All meditations are done by the same man with a nice voice which is both cheerful and soothing at the same time.
A website loaded with great information. Everything from articles to actual meditations, mindful.org offers ways to encourage yourself to practice mindful living. It also has up to date studies for easy access!
Tara Brach is a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, a Buddhist teacher, well renowned author, and mindfulness practitioner and speaker. Tara provides TONS of free meditations on her website from her live practices. They are fabulous and often topical.
Definitely more on the spiritual and “woke” end of the spectrum, Pocket Mindfulness is a treasure trove of inspirational articles and some exercises. Definitely worth a peek!
Want to contribute?
Do you have recommendations for websites or apps? Send them to me and I’ll check them out to add to this post!!!
Thanks so much for using this resource! I hope it will lead you to a healthier you!