Monday, July 18, 2011

4 Tips for Practicing Mindfulness

I have been learning about the benefits of mindfulness in reducing sleep disturbances, emotional irritability, stress response, and fatigue levels.  As I said in my last post, good quality sleep is necessary for the development of the hormone melatonin, boosting your immune system, and just being healthy in general.  I have started using mindfulness to help my mind relax during the time leading up to sleep, and also throughout the day.  Here are some tips for anyone interested in practicing mindfulness:

#1 Concentrate on the PRESENT Moment

Mindfulness is bringing your complete attention, focus, and awareness on what you are experiencing at the present moment.  You are not worrying about the future, regretting the past, or thinking about your goals or “to-do” lists.  You are simply in touch with all that is wonderful about this exact moment in time.  You are training your mind to think intentional, conscious thoughts about the details of the present moment.     

For example, there is beauty and peace in just breathing, smiling, walking, eating, and many other things.  But we often rush through the day, thinking about what we will do next, and never really stopping to take everything in and enjoy ourselves.  Every day, we are given the miraculous gift of life.  We should appreciate that we are alive and how wonderful it is when we are not suffering or in pain.  Life is full of wonders in nature and in other people around us.  In order to be consciously happy, we need to practice the awareness of this.

#2 Practice as Much as You Want

Breathing mindfully can be done anytime, anywhere, and as many times throughout the day that we want.  We can even do it while we are sitting at a traffic light, standing in line, or during physical exercise (walking, yoga, tai chi, etc).  The most important thing is that we are relaxing our minds and just being.

#3 Have a Calm and Accepting Attitude

When you are practicing mindfulness, your attitude should be calm, accepting, and caring towards everything.  You need to open yourself up in order to be in touch with elements of peace and healing.  You might think of it as a silent prayer.  Instead of talking, we are listening to what God is saying to us.  We can do this only by keeping our minds quiet and free from useless chatter.

It takes discipline to push the “stop” button in our minds.  Most likely, within a few minutes, we will be thinking about laundry, chores, work, or a million other things.  When this happens, we should not criticize ourselves, but instead gently tell our mind to focus back on the meditation.  Focus on breathing.  Repeat simple words in your mind, such as “in, out” or “calming breath, peaceful breath”.  We are training our brains to allow our minds to rest.  After practicing mindfulness for a while, our abilities will strengthen and we will be able to meditate for longer periods of time.      

#4 Be Mindful when Dealing with Conflict

Everyone faces difficulties in life, and we sometimes feel anger/negative emotions towards others.  Remember that the main cause of anger is the lack of understanding (within ourselves) about something that has happened.  If we can use mindfulness to refocus and calm our inner selves, we can then regain control over our emotions.  We should then be able to use peaceful speech to bring full attention to our negative emotions with whoever caused them.  An open attitude will allow us to see the situation from the other person’s perspective, and although we may not agree with what they said/did, we can understand where they are coming from and move on towards forgiveness.   

Learning mindfulness is a process, and it may take a long time to reach the full potential of it.  The more we practice, the better disciplined our minds become, and the more relaxed/happy we will feel with the present moment.  I have only been trying this for a week, and I already enjoy it and find it very peaceful!

(All three of these pictures were taken in Maui on our honeymoon... I love the natural beauty there!)


  1. Mindfulness can be a really helpful tool! I think it is great that you are learning all about it :)

  2. This is definitely something that is easy to forget about when we are busy rushing around in our day to day lives. I should try and work on it, too!:)

  3. Love this post. I too have started to practice mindfulness in a particularly chaotic time in my life and it has made such a difference. Came over from Meg's blog. Thank you for sharing your story!


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