6 mins reading time.
Mindfulness can be a scary word. It might bring to mind images of people sitting cross-legged with their eyes closed or focusing on their breath for long periods. Mindfulness is not always about that! Mindfulness for beginners can be practiced in the most straightforward ways possible. It will help you improve your mental health and overall well-being. If you are looking for a way to start practicing mindfulness at home, here are some easy steps to get started!
Find a comfortable place
1) You don’t need anything fancy –find somewhere, a space or an area of a room that feels good. The essential thing is to be comfortable. I really want you to enjoy learning how to do nothing on purpose! Mindfulness is another word for giving yourself the permission to do absolutely nothing and feel good about doing just that.
Slowing down and taking 5
We often think that distracting our mind from the ‘usual’ daily chores is taking a break, but remember, distraction isn’t necessarily mindfulness. Mindfulness is about bringing our attention to the present, focusing on what’s happening in the here and now. It is not about reading a magazine, or listening to music or searching your social media apps. These are all thought-provoking and emotional catalysts.
Mindfulness for beginners begins with Taking 5. It is about just noticing your surroundings without allowing your clever monkey mind to jump up and down. Monkey minds create stories, the past or the future, about things and ideas which are not here now in this present moment.
Try this first step meditation
Sit in a comfortable position, hands in your lap or resting on your legs. Half close your eyes and stare ahead of yourself, focusing down the line of your nose. You will be looking at the carpet or the floor or out of a window, half out of focus with maybe hazy coloured shapes. Just allow these images to flood your eyes, do not interpret them or identify them. Do not be drawn into making up stories about what you can see. Just allow.
Bring your focus of attention to your body. What do you feel? What sensations can you feel in your arms, back, head, legs, and bottom? Just notice. Don’t make up a story. Stay with the actual sensations.
Take a deep breath and feel what happens when you breathe in. Stay with your focus of attention on the breath. Feel your chest and your tummy expanding and filling with the air.
Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose for a couple of minutes, focusing on the breath coming in and out. Use your hand to help you focus if you like. Listen to the sound of your breath. Notice that it has a harsh, sharp sound as you breathe in and a softer, more gentle sound and feeling as you breathe out. Watch what thoughts come into your head, allow them to arrive, acknowledge them and then let them go, just let them float away back to where they came from.
Do this for 5 breaths, then stop, relax the effort and notice everything around you.
Calm Relaxed yet Focused and Alert
When you stop and take 5, do it with gentle alertness.
– Take a few deep breaths and relax your body from head to toe.
– Tune in to what’s happening right now with an alert, relaxed focus – i.e., Your Five senses: The sounds around you. What you can see. What you can feel and touch. What you can smell. What you can taste.
Do not analyse but actively experience each of your senses one by one.
– Mindfulness is the act of being present in your experience, observing and experiencing it while not judging.
Mindful awareness helps you be more focused because you focus on what’s happening right now instead of worrying about future events or dwelling on past mistakes.
– Mindfulness for beginners especially for those with anxiety, mindfulness can help by reducing worry, for, in the present moment of your practice of being with your five senses, the object of your concern or anxiety is not current. It does not exist, and like a fleeting butterfly of your mind, it has gone. In realising, even for a brief second, that you are free from your emotion of anxiety, you have begun your journey to free yourself from the stress and worry.
Every journey starts with the first step.
The first step is to take 5 daily.
5 seconds, 5 breaths, 5 moments. Just to be present with yourself, observing all that is around you.
Mindfulness is a practice, and in doing it every day, you are building up the neural pathways that will allow your mind to recognise when anxiety begins to arise. It will transform in a few weeks from being a daily chore to being a positive habit of the mind. It will become second nature to notice how you consider life, evaluate your life, expect your life all compile to building brick by brick, the wall of anxiety which hems you in.
Mindfulness is easier than you think
The benefits of mindfulness are well documented, and the process is, frankly, much easier than you might think. When we’re mindful, our minds become more focused on what is happening in the present moment. Rather than thoughts about the past or worries for the future. It can be as simple as taking five minutes each day to sit still with your eyes closed and focus only on breathing. Without letting any other thoughts enter your mind.
Start by trying this for just a few breaths at first, then work up to more extended periods of sitting and breathing when it’s comfortable for you.
Mindfulness as we advance
Mindfulness for beginners is a simple step by step introduction on how to start learning mindfulness at home. As it can be seen from the definition, mindfulness means being aware of thoughts and emotions at the moment without getting carried away with them or judging them.
“Mindfulness starts when you observe your experience.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
After practicing mindfulness regularly over several weeks or months, you may find that you feel more positive and revitalised and better able to manage the worry/anxiety when it does pop into your mind as a feeling emotion.