Thinking of starting to practice mindfulness? Not sure where to start? There is a lot of confusing information out there and it can get overwhelming trying to filter out the crap! Well instead of spending hours and hours reading countless different website, I thought I’d help you guys out. I’ve done some reflecting back to when I first started (admittedly a long time ago now!) Here’s a few things I want to let you know which I wish I had known when I started my mindfulness journey.
1. You don’t need to buy anything or spend any money
Some people might tell you that you need candles/incense/a meditation cushion in order to create the ‘right atmosphere’ so you can be mindful properly. The truth is, this is complete and utter rubbish. Yes, they might be nice to have, but you certainly don’t need them in order to practice mindfulness.
2. You don’t have to dedicate hours and hours to it
Mindfulness need only take a few minutes a day, and you can do it whilst doing other activities. This is great because it means you can do it without having to change your whole lifestyle. For example, if you have a window by your kitchen sink, look outside and notice what you can see and hear. Because you don’t really have to concentrate on the washing up (unless it’s the crystal glasses your nan gave you) you can spend that time being mindful.
In fact, I would encourage you not to spend too long on it to start with. Although mindfulness sounds quite easy, it can take a bit of rewiring if your brain to begin with. When you’ve been used to constantly having to run through everything that needs doing your brain can find it bloody hard to stop. Even if it is only for a few minutes.
So I suggest starting with just 5 minutes a day. Set yourself a timer and spend those minutes being in the moment. If your mind starts to wander, tell yourself you can think about it once the timer goes off.
3. You don’t have to wait for ‘the perfect moment’
When I ask people why they haven’t started yet, I often get told they are waiting for some sort of perfect moment. The thing is, there will always be an excuse that this moment isn’t perfect enough. You end up putting the act of mindfulness on such a high pedestal, that you never actually do it.
What is the perfect moment for mindfulness anyway? My theory is that those of you who are using this as an excuse are are waiting for this zen moment which is all peaceful and still. But in my opinion it’s actually much easier to be mindful when there is stuff going on around you. Finding things to notice when nothing’s happening is a lot harder when you’re starting out. Much better to actually notice that the kids are playing nicely or that the feel of the warm washing up water is actually quite soothing on your hands.
As I keep drumming on, mindfulness really can be done anytime, and anywhere. So why not grab the bull by the horns and take 5 minutes now?
4. Mindfulness isn’t doesn’t have to be complicated
A lot of people mistake mindfulness for some complicated yoga routine or a full on guided meditation with plinky plunky music and incense burning. This is NOT the case. Now don’t get me wrong, these are mindful activities, but they’re certainly not your only options.
I think you’ve probably started to get the gist from this article that starting is really easy. At the risk of repeating myself, all you need is you!
5. Use it or lose it
Now this can be a hard one to hear. Unlike riding a bike, mindfulness does actually need to be practised regularly and as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the easier it gets and the better you will feel. You can’t be mindful for ten minutes one Tuesday morning and expect to be a zen master for the rest of your life!
The best thing to do in my opinion is try and find a regular spot in your day to practice, at least until you get the hang of it. Maybe it’s whilst you have your morning coffee, or maybe it’s whilst you wash the dishes. Try and find an activity or time of day when you can let your mind really focus on what is happening in that moment and rest from all the normal stresses it has to deal with.
The more you do it, the easier it will get and before you know it you will find yourself being mindful without even realising it!
What do you think?
These are just a few things I wish I had known when I first started being mindful. If anything, I think it would have helped me start sooner and it definitely would have made it feel less like a chore and more like something comforting to do when life feels like it’s all getting a bit too much.
Is there anything you wish you had known before starting out? Or is there anything worrying you which you would like to answers to before you get started? Come and join the conversation in the Crunchy Leaves and Sunsets Facebook group. We’d love to hear from you!
Want more information on how to start being mindful? Check out my Beginners Guide to Mindfulness for everything you need to know to get started today!
Want even more? Check out the Resources page for downloadable content to help you get started on your Mindfulness journey.