2020 has now ended, and we are starting to reflect on what has been a turbulent year. There have been unforeseeable challenges and struggles and it has become increasingly difficult to understand what to expect in 2021. You are stressed and your mind is a jumble of “what-ifs” or questions of what's next, and work and family demands are competing for your attention. Mindfulness could be just what you need and that begs the question; how exactly do you achieve mindfulness
In my exploration of mindfulness, I have learned that finding it is unique to each individual seeking it. I find my mindfulness through crocheting. Working the back-and-forth pattern helps me to clear my mind and find balance in my day. Some find their mindfulness in meditation, while others cook, read, exercise, or use a combination of activities. The secret to the power of mindfulness is finding what works for YOU.
If you are new to seeking the power of mindfulness or looking to change things up a little in 2021, there are many resources out there to help. There are apps for everything, including meditation and mindfulness. Some of the best known are Aura, Breath, and Calm. YouTube is also an excellent resource to find guided meditations, calming music, and mindfulness exercises. There are even mindfulness Ted Talks you can enjoy. With a little research, there is something out there for everyone seeking the power of mindfulness.
I have discovered in my exploration of the power of mindfulness that no matter how you chose to find your balance, there are four common steps to help you prepare physically, emotionally, and mentally. Below is a simple step-by-step guide to help you on your journey to mindfulness.
Step 1: BEGIN BY FINDING A QUIET PLACE and scheduling a regular time each day to practice. Find the time that works best for you and a comfortable position to help your body and mind to prepare to turn inward.
Step 2: NEXT, TAKE A MOMENT TO CHECK-IN physically, mentally, and emotionally. Ask yourself: What is my inspiration for today? Where do I want to focus my mind today?
Step 3: BEGIN TO TRAIN YOUR MIND TO FOCUS and stay with one single thought for an extended period. You might try closing your eyes, concentrating on your breathing. YouTube has a good selection of guided meditations to help you get started. Remember, even the most experienced mindfulness practitioners experience floods of thoughts. When you find your focus slipping, gently and lovingly invite them to return to your chosen activity.
Step 4: IT TAKES TIME TO DEVELOP A NEW HABIT, so be patient with yourself. Begin with 5 to 10 minutes of quiet meditation and slowing build upwards. You might find it helpful to use a timer, so you do not have to worry about watching the clock.
We wish you a happy 2021 and a fun-filled journey toward the power of mindfulness.
authored by Carolyn Shoop, a NAMI Northern Virginia staff member
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