Not Sure About Mindfulness? 5 Tips to Getting Started.
By: Beth Wallace, BBA, CMF
Published: April 2017
I am asked all the time why I became so interested in the benefits of mindfulness. I think the bottom line for me was seeing and feeling the impact it had at home and work – but it really is the kind of thing you have to try-on-for-size to see if it fits.
Read these ‘5 Tips to Getting Started with Mindfulness’ and see if it might be right for you!
1. There is no special clothing, age, equipment, or view of the world needed to begin to explore mindfulness.
You do not have to be a ‘special’ type of person to practice mindfulness. You don’t need a particular belief system, background or personality. Generally speaking, we are all born with the inherent ability to sit with who we are, and observe the thoughts and emotions that flow through our brain and into our bodies. There are no special tools, and no special environment is needed. Sitting with our thoughts and getting to know our brains, thoughts, and emotions without resisting or feeling the need to ‘do something’ is a radical act. It is contrary to everything many of us have been taught – and can have a major positive impact on how we show up in the world.
2. There is no score sheet.
While there are individuals who may impress us when they refer to their ‘years of practice’, as soon as you sit for your first 5 minutes of practice, you’ve begun to work with benefits of mindfulness.
Integrating even a small amount into your day such as 5 or 10 minutes of sitting practice can have a tangible impact on your quality of life after only a few weeks. While mindfulness practices may not be for everyone – for whatever reason – even a little amount is a good thing.
3. Trusting in your ability to sit and observe your thoughts can be tough.
It can be frightening and novel to watch what goes on inside our head. Everyone has a degree of ‘monkey mind’!
When we first begin to sit, and notice our thoughts, many of us assume that no one else has a mind as busy as ours – filled with fantasies, worries, obsessions, hang ups, insecurities, oddities, fixations. The happy news is that it’s pretty common.
4. Lowering stress is only one part of this! Appreciating the joy and contentment that can be found in the moment is a tremendous gift of mindfulness.
Most of us spend the majority of our time thinking about something that’s gone wrong and wishing it was different – or thinking about something in the future and hoping for a particular outcome. This planning, organizing, sorting, wishing, hoping, and making lists can provide short term distraction and feel comfortable and familiar – but it often limits our ability to be present to what is actually unfolding in the moment.
5. We have the ability to re-wire our brain and the scientific proof of this is growing.
We are wired to run. Fright and flight reaction is in us from an evolutionary standpoint, but is often of little benefit to us now. Unfortunately, we are feeding this frenzy with constant stress triggers, multitasking, work demands, family, technology, etc.
The good news is that mindfulness offers tools to ride the waves of life with greater clarity and presence. Try it on for size!
Beth Wallace is a mindfulness facilitator with over 25 years of operations and senior management experience. Through The Mindful Project, Beth assists leaders to uncover their natural ability for greater clarity, resiliency, and presence in meeting the challenges of leadership. Beth holds a Certificate in Mindful Facilitation through the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) at UCLA Semel Neuroscience Institute and a BBA from Mount Saint Vincent University. www.bethwallace.com