Mindfulness is a natural ability that we all have. It’s available to us in every moment if we take the time to appreciate it. When we practice mindfulness, we’re practicing the art of creating space for ourselves—space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions.
Let’s keep it a buck though, there’s no way to quiet your mind. That’s not the goal here. All you’re trying to do is pay attention to the present moment. Sounds easy, right?
Honestly, your mind will wander. As you practice paying attention to what’s going on in your body and mind at the present moment, you’ll find that many thoughts arise. Your mind might start to drift to something that happened yesterday, maybe, you’ll start thinking about your to-do list—your mind will try to be anywhere but where you are. But, the wandering mind isn’t something to fear. Because if you can notice that your mind has wandered, then you can consciously bring it back to the present moment.
The more you do this, the more you’re able to do it again and again. It’s all about returning your attention to the present moment. Mindfulness is the practice of returning to the breath. We use the sensation of breathing as an anchor to the present moment, and every time we return to the breath, we reinforce our ability to do it again.
How to practice mindfulness:
Take a seat. Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.
Set a time limit. If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as 5- or 10-minutes.
Notice your body. You can sit in whatever way is the most comfortable, just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.
Feel your breath. Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes out and as it goes in.
Notice when your mind has wandered. It’s inevitable that your attention will leave the sensations of the breath and wander to other places. When you notice this, just return your attention to the breath.
Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.
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