Mindfulness is, without a doubt, a big buzz word these days. Corporations are buying in at a big level to make sure employees are up-to-date with it, and individuals are on their own quest to take a deep dive to discover more about themselves. But what is there to it?  How does one start a mindfulness practice? And is it worth it?

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness, in its simplest form, is mindful awareness. Some examples could include having awareness to your senses around you, or even having an awareness of someone else’s feelings. It involves taking a moment – sometimes many moments – and paying attention. In a world where we barely have time to breathe, it’s important to step back and notice our surroundings, which is most certainly done in a mindfulness act.

There are said to be three aspects of mindfulness:

Attention – Mindfulness is about paying attention to your inner or outer experiences. Your mindful attention can be developed through various different types of meditation, and the two are often mistaken for each other. But truly having attention and being mindful can open your eyes to experiences around you in just about any time of your day.

Intention – What is it that you want to get from a mindfulness practice? Is it stress reduction? A greater emotional balance?  Or do you wish to discover your true nature?

Attitude – When you become mindful, you tune into your attitudes. How is it that you feel? This will change throughout each day, so pay attention to it. Perhaps your attitude is not what you want it to be, which is why you are here – and we certainly have exercises to get you started:

Mindfulness exercises:

Honestly, once you tune in to what mindfulness is, there are so many ways to practice it daily. Here are some daily exercises to incorporate into your mindfulness practice:

  • Taking a few moments each morning to appreciate stillness, and peace. Don’t rush to get up, and certainly don’t get on any device. Let your body slowly and properly awaken and get ready for the day.
  • Be mindful while eating. That also means no screens, no distractions.
  • Spend time outdoors. Hike, walk, bike, even sit outdoors. You may just be amazed at how you feel after getting your daily dose of nature.
  • Recognize your feelings. So many times we want to avoid them. Let’s face it – feelings can be tough, they can hurt, they can be uncomfortable. But instead of pushing them down, let them arise, acknowledge them, and finally accept.
  • Make something. Again – in a world of never ending busyness, you will likely be amazed at how taking the time to create something can make you feel.
  • Meditate. I couldn’t create a list of mindfulness activities without including this! And if you want to get started, this post is just the one to get you going.
  • Coloring. Yep, believe it or not, that act that most of us used to do as youngsters really does have yet another plus to it. See if you don’t feel relaxed with the act of coloring.
  • Tune in…. wherever you are. Are you driving? Turn off the podcast, XM Radio, or whatever you have playing. Turn your phone on silent and pay attention to what’s around you instead of zoning out while you go from one place to the next. Are you eating dinner with another? Stop making a mental list of what you need to do while in their company. Focus in on the here and now and get more in touch with yourself.

So now you want to practice mindfulness …

How do you get into the habit of practicing mindfulness? Well like anything, a new habit takes time to form.

We suggest beginning simply, with easy daily practices, such as the ones listed above. Are you seeking some more suggestions? Then we have just the thing for you: 12 days of mindfulness. It’s a consecutive practice with doable activities. See if you don’t enjoy these activities that you’ll take part in daily. Hopefully you’ll be yearning for more afterwards!

12 Days of Mindfulness - an easy way to start a mindfulness practice

(click to download a pdf ——–>12 Days of Mindfulness)

Take it a step further: Mindfulness meditation:

Getting started meditating can be daunting, but with a little education along with consistency, it’s absolutely doable. We were fortunate enough to work with some wonderful local experts here in Charlotte recently. Guru Ranjit of Charlotte Meditation was actually trained by Indira Gandhi’s teacher, and now teaches individuals of all ages with success. Angela Gala, also of Charlotte Meditation, is equally engaging and together they created a 3 part series to get you going with meditation.
Do you enjoy practicing mindfulness activities? Did we miss some exercises that you’d like to share? Please list them in the comments below – we’d love to hear them!