How to get started with your first day of mindfulness

by Feb 4, 2019Healthy living, Simple living

Mindfulness is booming in popularity, and you might wonder what all the fuzz is about.

In short, mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment deliberately, with curiosity, and without judgement.

This is not an easy task and requires practice and patience. It can however really be worth your effort and this quick guide will get you through the first day of practicing. You can keep practicing as many days as you want until you feel you can move on to more.

Just a few moments of practicing mindfulness each day can already give you a few wonderful benefits. Examples of these benefits are:

-Less stress
-Less fear
-Better focus
-Better memory
-More satisfaction in and from relationships
-Better self-insight and intuition
-Better sleep

In addition to these benefits, mindfulness gets you back to the present moment. I’ve always found it really hard not to dwell in the past. And I often keep thinking about the future ahead of me. These mindfulness exercises really help me to just get back to the here and now and appreciate what I have right there and then. It’s really powerful. And therefore I really want to share that with you, so that you too can experience all these benefits.

There is not one fixed way to do it, carved in stone. But these steps have really helped me to start practicing mindfulness. And I think they are great for you to begin with as well:

1. Mindful breathing

The first exercise you could try, is to completely concentrate on your breathing. There are different breathing exercises, but the following is a good one to begin with: breathe in for three seconds. Then hold your breath for three seconds. And then exhale in three seconds. Count ten breaths in total. The counting will help you to keep your mind focused on the moment.

2. Mindful drinking

The second thing you can try is mindful drinking. You can do this with any drink that you like or usually drink, such as tea, lemon infused water, fresh juice, or perhaps a smoothie. After you’ve chosen your drink, start paying attention to its looks. What colour does it have? What kind of texture? And what kind of smell does it have? When you start drinking, do it sip by sip. For each sip, hold it in your mouth for a bit and really be aware of the flavour, the texture, and the temperature.

3. Mindful eating

This exercise is similar to the second one. As much as people love eating in front of the TV, a computer, or with our phones in our hand (I’m guilty as charged!), it is important for mindful eating to do it without any distractions. First start to notice what your food looks like: the colours, the forms, and the patterns. Then with each bite, explore the different flavours, the textures, and the temperature. Do this while eating slowly and pausing between bites. Ask yourself if the food is soft, crunchy, sweet, spicy, salty, dry, or anything else? The easiest would be to start with a piece of fruit, but you can really do it with any type of food you want.

4. Mindful walking

The exercise of mindful walking can be done whenever you want to. For example when you walk from one room to another. Or when you go for a walk with your dogs if you have them. Or when you walk from your desk to the toilet perhaps. But you can also choose to walk around, just for the exercise itself.  During your walk, try to slow down and appreciate the present moment. Be aware of your pace. Feel your feet connecting with the ground. Try to focus on the ground beneath you. How does it feel? Try to pay attention to how your weight is shifting with each step and how your foot is rolling from your heal to your toes. Remind yourself with each step, to be in the present moment.

5. Be aware of your senses

This exercise is one of my favourites. See it as a little game to become aware of your senses. Try to be aware of two things you can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste right in that moment. You can do it with any number per sense you like, but let’s start with two.

To give you an example of what my senses are right now: I see a cute brown stuffed animal on my desk, and I see the letters adding up to this story while I’m writing it. I hear birds chirping outside, as well as a rooster sounding its morning call. I can smell the aroma of my herbal tea, and the hand lotion I recently applied. Furthermore, I can feel the keys of my keyboard while writing this, and the softness of the chair on which I’m sitting. Lastly I can taste the herbs of my tea that I’m drinking, and the lip balm that I just applied.

6. Do only one thing at a time

When practicing mindfulness, it’s important to do only one thing at a time. So don’t try to multitask. For example, when you are eating, just eat. When you are reading a book, just read a book. Also, try to approach each of these mindfulness exercises -one by one- with gratitude. What I mean by that, is to be thankful that you are able to breathe, drink, eat, walk, and be aware of your senses while you are doing each of these exercises. Mindfulness can help you create a healthier mind, step by step, changing one habit at a time.

Final note

There are plenty more ways to practice mindfulness, but this is a good start for a beginner so you don’t get overwhelmed. Please keep in mind that it’s not a competition. Mindfulness really is for everyone. Don’t worry if you find it hard at first. This is completely normal and understandable. The key is to just keep practicing without letting “failing at it” mean anything. Mindfulness can take years of practice to master and trying to rush it will only slow down your progress. Please be patient and know that it will come in time. Your body and mind will truly thank you with each and every practice along the way.

Mindfulness is a journey and this is only the beginning.

About Me

My name is Lenore and it is my mission to present women with tips and tricks on how to create a healthier lifestyle, but also on how to live more sustainably where less is more. So if you're looking for just that, you're in the right place!