Although I know that meditation calms my mind and makes me feel more confident and spacious, I can’t always fit a formal practice into my day. Knowing what’s good for me and doing it are often two different things.
I’ve experienced the profound healing that formal meditation practices can provide. These practices helped me through the anxiety and depression that were constant parts of my existence. At that time in my life, yoga and meditation were my medicine, and it was critical to take that time just for me.
Some would say that these daily practices are the bedrock of a mindful life, and others would argue that it is the “in-between” moments of the day when we pause to savor the present moment that holds the most benefit. Both can be incredibly powerful, and finding the right balance for you is what is important right now.
Moments of Mindfulness
Whether our practice consists of long stretches of meditation or simply moments of kind awareness, the benefits are profound. Mindfulness nurtures us and helps us touch into something essential in our nature.
Following are some helpful ways I have found to weave mindful awareness into the nooks and crannies of my life. As you experiment, be gentle with yourself and don‘t take on too much. Pick just one and commit to consistently doing it for at least a week before adding another.
Eight Mindful Practices
- When you wake up in the morning, pause before you get out of bed or get caught up in the spinning mind. Take a few slow deep breaths and sense the effect on your mind, body, and emotions.
- Before you fully awaken, bring to mind a positive image or setting. Then, see yourself clearly in this picture to avoid getting caught in anxiety or worry.
- After you get out of bed, notice something special about the morning. It could be the smell of coffee, a flower, or the sound of birds. Ground yourself in your physical senses.
- Any time you are commuting from one place to another, focus attention on the feel of your body as you breathe. Look around and appreciate your surroundings.
- Use transitions wisely. Anytime you start a new project, begin an email, get ready to make a phone call, or walk to the bathroom, stop and take two or three conscious deep breaths and notice any shift.
- Take at least a minute or two to pause when you transition from your work to your home. Become fully present to this new part of your day and to others you share it with. Set an intention for the attitude you would like to cultivate for the evening.
- As you climb into bed, take a few minutes to review the day. What went well? Is there anything you need to let go of?
- Before you drift off to sleep, take a few relaxing breaths. Then, bring to mind your positive image and set an intention to have a restful sleep.
Take These Wise Words to Heart
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Please Join Me
This week we are starting our late summer classes! Please join me in the 5-Week Tools for Self-Kindness Class starting Wednesday morning or the 8-Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course starting Thursday evening.