Why and How to Start a Mindfulness Practice
Do you often feel distracted or disturbed? Can't focus?
Indulge in these five mindfulness activities that go easy on you
Ever experienced this particular incident with yourself? Once you had a fight with your spouse and were stressed. The following day, you have a board meeting and are hearing the discussions happening. Although you are physically present in the board room, mentally you are lost in a world of thoughts, in your own world of stress and worries. You just can't focus on the meeting. Unfortunately, you were 'mindless' at that time.
Mindlessness comes with its costs. It builds a wall around our thoughts and actions, beyond which we never dare to cross. It can block us into a particular manner of being, perceiving and implementing. The worst part is that at times we don't even know we are being mindless. In chronic issues, mindlessness can lead to learned helplessness situations.
As Jon Kabat-Zin rightly said,
“You can’t stop the waves,
but you can learn to surf.”
This quote has given an amazing analogy and a wonderful lesson. When seas are being jerky, rather than drowning in them, we can get on our surfboard and learn to deal with waves. Here, the waves represent the ongoing ups and downs, challenges and changes in our lives. We cannot avoid these uncontrollable situations. What we can do is, learn the art of adapting with a positive mindset and an iron will.
A healthier mindset comes from practicing mindfulness. A question would arise to you all, that what is this mindfulness?
Jon Kabat-Zin has defined mindfulness as an awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. Mindfulness is this moment-to-moment awareness. Originated from Buddhist philosophy, it is based on self-awareness. You are aware of your thoughts and feelings, but you would not judge them.
You stop giving quick emotional responses, which earlier you would tend to give. This mindfulness practice creates a space between you and your actions. It also has positive results on your physical health. Your blood pressure can gradually reduce, bringing down anxiety and depression and can boost your memory. Mindfulness activities can envisage an affirmative impact at the workplaces as well. Studies have shown that mindfulness drives many aspects such as wellbeing, relationships and creativity.
Let us now glance at the seven ways to be mindful every day:
A practice of mindfulness comes with maintaining a daily journal. It is a very simple technique. Dive deep into yourself and start writing. Think about what made you happy today, which events stole your smile, etc. and just pen it down. Journaling can help to clear your heads and hearts and even reduce the effects of mental disorders.
You need not worry about how to maintain a journal or book every day. Aumhum has an in-built journal facility where users can note down their routine practices. Aumhum has both Guided and unguided journals.
Guided journals give you a way to start on topics you may be avoiding. Prompts in guided journals can also help you make a start when you don't know where and how to start from.
When one starts to journal, invariably the emotions come into play. People usually write a lot about their emotions. This is just a phase. It is like venting out. It is only after some time that emotions give way to thoughts. It is then when the beauty and utility of journaling comes out in the open.
You can start with maintaining a daily end of the day journal. When you peg it to the end of your day, you have anchored it to a significant event (going to bed). This also becomes a conscious call for your own body and mind that it is the time now to go to bed. And that all the thoughts and emotions are now kept safely in your journal. They may or may not matter tomorrow, but they would not bother you as they did before your journaled. `
Am listing a few of my favorite guided journals:
Another simple and accessible way to practice mindfulness is by indulging in mindful breathing. Mindful breathing requires you to be aware of your breath. Breathing as a complete process, not just the inhale and exhale. Sadhguru explains breathing as a complete process where he calls trees as half your lungs. What you exhale they inhale and what you inhale they exhale. Many a breathing techniques help you develop awareness related to breathing. From the time the the air is inhaled (the sensations in the nose) all the way to the same hitting your abdomen (sensations of the abdomen). Breathing for a couple of minutes helps to eliminate distraction, evade negative thoughts, improve self-awareness and slows down your racing mind. Indeed, a beneficial tool to a peaceful mind.
Aumhum has short 1 minute breathing practice sessions where experts teach the first-time users how to breathe to help a particular purpose.
Here are some of my favourite breathing sessions:
3) The Visualizations and the Guided Imagery
One of most powerful, yet simple mindfulness activity which use your power of imagination to relax and calm your mind is the guided imagery and visualizations. Through this activity, you can learn the art of using your imagination to change how you are feeling currently. Guided visualization is known to offer tremendous quick benefits including immediate relaxation.
Guided visualization helps you to visualize in an effective manner. Try out the various guided sessions in the voice of your favorite teachers.
4) Mindfulness Meditation
The most popular and effective technique to practice mindfulness is by incorporating a daily meditation habit. Meditation is a state that one reaches, it is not something you do. You make the right conditions and meditation happens. So there is no right or wrong way of meditation. It is all about creating the right conditions. In mindfulness meditation you remain cognizant of your thoughts as and when they pass by. No one is judging them, let them flow freely. Just simply observe and take note of what all is going on. Just be aware.
When it comes to meditation, what is critical is to be regular. Even experts such as Gautam Buddha or Krishna continued to practice even though they were considered masters of meditativeness. Make use of the practice timer feature in the Aumhum app to keep up with your daily meditation practice. Aumhum has preset timers for most of the popular meditations. Users can add meditation and practices of their own.
5) Mindful observation
The most direct mindfulness activity is to be more observant. It's all about what you see, hear, touch; without judging or reacting. It helps to live at the present moment to its fullest and not getting lost in burdens of past or future worries. When you practice observation, you are much likely to be of your utmost intelligence.
Thus, by practicing mindfulness activities in your professional life, you are able to adapt quickly and cope up with various challenges efficiently. Just select mindfulness or observation as one of the techniques in the Aumhum app. Start a plan with a renowned experts master such as Reenu Sahore and build the capability to observe step by step. Here are some of the popular observation courses listed below:
Even a small bit of mindfulness in the day has the potential to change one's life. You may be exploring it looking for solution to something, mindfulness as a practice does much more for you. Get started today, or reach out to someone here, so that they may help you make a start.