In a recent post I mentioned the mental and physical benefits of meditation and mindfulness practice. But if you don’t have experience with meditation or mindfulness, incorporating a practice into your daily life can seem daunting.
In his book, Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn makes recommendations on how to get started on establishing a mindfulness practice in your life.
- Start with your breathing. Do an experiment for a few minutes on paying attention to your breathing. Watch your mind. Does it wander away and come back over the course of those few minutes? Set aside 5-10 minutes a day to pay attention to your breathing. You can do this sitting or lying down or in any comfortable position.
- Practice every day. You can continue to focus on your breathing or read books or listen to CD’s on the topic to get ideas for your mindfulness practice. I will include a few resources at the bottom of this post.
- Bring awareness to routine activities, such as waking up, shopping, washing dishes or answering email. Pick one routine a week and try to be fully engaged in it when you do it every time.
- Bring your awareness to your body. You can bring your attention to your body through yoga exercises or through a body scan, in which you slowly scan your attention through all the regions of your body, noticing any tensions, pain or other sensations.
- Now that you’ve started a practice, make a decision about when, where and how long you want to practice on a regular basis. Consider taking courses, reading or watching video’s about mindfulness to increase your knowledge and help you find ways to incorporate it into your life in a way that is helpful to you.
Mindfulness practice can have both mental and physical health benefits. Like many healthy habits, getting started can be the hardest part.
Full Catastrohpe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn
Peace is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hahn
The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hahn
Mindfulness is Plain English, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
A Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction Workbook, Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein
Mindfulness for Beginners Audio CD, Jon Kabat-Zinn
Photo by Sergiu Alistar, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.