Mindfulness meditation practice seems difficult. The truth is, however, it couldn’t be easier. You can practice anytime, anywhere. Mindfulness is just about noticing the moment and being present in your actions and the world.
Some people find good benefit to a regular, formal mindfulness practice. You can do this in a few simple steps:
- Sit down. Get comfortable.
- Pay attention to your breath, and
- When your attention wanders, return.
- If I find I am distracted by something stressful or my thoughts, sometimes I will introduce a brief mantra, like, “This moment is a gift.” Another suggestion is to simply use a word, such as “follow” or “breathe.”
A few other pointers may also be helpful to consider. Find a good place, ideally where there isn’t too much clutter or noise. Use natural light when possible or sit outside. If you have a busy family life, you can even sit in your car a few minutes before you enter the house.
It helps to set an amount of time you’re going to “practice” for. Otherwise, you may fall asleep, worry about when to stop, or keep thinking about the time. To start, I often tell my patients to start with 1 minute. Eventually you can build up to 5-15 mintues, then maybe up to 45 minutes or an hour.
Try to feel your breath and where it hits your nose or mouth, going in and out. Undoubtedly, your attention will wander to other places. Just return your attention to the breath. You go away, you come back. That’s the practice. You will get to know yourself better and in more meaningful ways.