As I said in the first baby step post, this month, I want to highlight 31 ways to baby step your way into a more mindful and healthful life. Some of the tips will be advice already stated or implied in previous posts, while some will be brand new. This post provides the fourth and an explanation. The idea is to start at the beginning and accumulate as many mindful and healthful habits as you'd like to sustain by the conclusion of the month. It's similar to that icebreaker where you're in a circle of people and you need to repeat all of the members' names in order... it's a challenge, but you'll feel great at making progress and it'll help you see how far you've come from the 1st to the 31st!
Baby Step # 4
Find your own mindfulness
The whole blog is called Making Mindfulness (read about how we picked the name here). Mindfulness is a hot word and concept right now, but what does it actually mean? And, more importantly, what does mindfulness mean to you? A few months ago, I worked with the Simmons School of Social Work in their exploration of mindfulness and its many interpretations and definitions. Here's what I said,
"To me, mindfulness is a deliberate effort to slow down, reflect, and be present; instead of racing and charging ahead, the focus becomes the feelings, sensations, thoughts, and reflections of the present moment. Mindfulness has helped me to experience my days more fully and has encouraged extended and expanded gratitude. It is so easy to be thankful when you experience your moments entirely."
If you're interested in some expert opinions on the subject, check out this link to read more. These definitions vary, but they all contain some key common elements.
- The present moment. RIGHT NOW.
- Attention and attentiveness.
- Feelings--the use of the senses to process and experience the present.
- Breath. Breathe in and out. Follow your breath. Allow your focus to remain on your inhalation and exhalation.
- Acceptance. Feeling contented with where and how you are and feel and working to eliminate judgment of yourself and others.
- Gratitude. Cultivating thanksgiving for all you've been given in your life, your family, yourself.
So, even if you thought mindfulness was a lofty yogi notion, it's really just contentedly existing and being present. You can do this while you walk, while you work, while you drive... you can be mindful while you eat, while you speak, and while you exercise...
Check out these Making Mindfulness posts for ways to make mindfulness happen in your life today:
Drop Everything & Eat Mindfully
Yoga Fundamentals: Breathing Exercise
Mindfulness = Being Here Now
Take Notice (of Your Posture)
10 Ways to Relax and Get Mindful!
Labels: Go Ahead--Try It!, Life, Mindful Baby Steps