Don’t mind if I do – the art of practicing mindfulness

“Mindfulness is a moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations. The idea is to allow thoughts, feelings and sensations to come and go, without judgement or the need to do anything with them.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? The trick is…well, there really isn’t a trick. It’s all about another “t” word…training. Training your brain and your mind to be more present wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. This can best be achieved through practice – lots and lots of practice. Remember, mindfulness is not about turning off your brain…it’s about focusing it on the present.

Take a breath

Really. Take a breath. Now another one. Be aware of that breathing because it’s going to come in handy whenever you practice mindfulness.

You may think something like mindfulness is not for you – you’re too busy, it’s hard to focus on the present, you can’t turn off the noise in the brain that’s keeping track of everything you need to do every single day! But that’s OK. Training that wandering mind is what mindfulness is all about. Your mind will wander. That’s OK. But when it does, and it’s no longer where the rest of your body is, that’s when you call upon that breathing. When you become aware that your mind is vacation planning and the rest of you is in a status meeting at work, focus on a few breaths to bring your mind back to the present.

Hey…no judgement here

Another really important part of practicing mindfulness is to let go of judgement but not to let go of thinking. The goal is not to clear your mind of all thought, it is more to be aware of the thoughts that are coming and going and bringing yourself back to where you are when your mind wanders too far away. And when that happens…and it will happen again and again, it’s not a bad thing. Simply take a few breaths and join the present.

Remember, mindfulness is not something you master…it’s something you practice, and it is something that you can do anywhere, anytime. There are lots of different techniques to help, simply search “mindfulness” online and you’ll find plenty of information.

Karen Young and

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