Being Mindful – Where to Start

I wanted to share what I have learnt from my own experience with mindfulness with you. Mainly that you are probably already naturally doing many things mindfully during your day to look after yourself and that’s a good place to start, take note, feel positive and confident about those things.

Mindfulness often starts with learning how to focus on your breath or being fully immersed in eating a raisin/grape(!) But there may be plenty of things you are doing already that show you have the skills and ability to do something relaxing and positive that will bring you so much benefit. And it doesn’t have to be regimented or a big effort. Small bites and little steps to looking after yourself is a helpful approach.

I have attended meditation and mindfulness sessions to help my own mental and physical health. I find attending a structured course helpful, but as soon as I’m on my own my motivation evaporates, and I struggle to focus. Something I live with is regular nightmares and flashbacks from a past trauma, so when focusing with eyes shut, on my own, laying down this isn’t comfortable or helpful for me. But I am now aware and mindful of that, and can work around this. It’s about taking your time and noticing what works.

One thing that I’ve really benefited from is a realisation that there are actually many things that I am already doing that are in a way mindful, and for me were a good place to start in terms of expanding and continuing that mindful practice (because you do have to practice!) and something to celebrate. I encourage you to notice your natural pauses throughout your day, those things that slow down your breathing and fill you with warmth or positivity, things that help you to stay calm and feel okay. It doesn’t have to be something that takes lots of time, it could be seconds but once you notice those things you can start to do more of them.

Here are a few mindful things that I have found helpful, that have kept me grounded and given me calm during tough times and the things in my toolkit that I know are there if I need them:

  • A hug. From a loved one, or in these times when you may be on your own in isolation giving yourself a hug is a comforting thing to do (this is also a mindful movement – so you get a bonus mindful point with that one and it’s a nice gentle stretch!)
  • Watching the birds pottering around outside. Noticing things: clouds, faces in random places, new or lovely noises (bird song? The wind? The sea – if you’re lucky to live by the sea.), the shape/colour/size/smell of new plants/leaves.
  • Fun explanation of Mindfulness:

Thank you for reading. Stay home, stay safe and take care.

~ Kirby