Over the last few weeks, I have written about what mindfulness is and how to make it a part of your life. As with anything mindfulness, too, must be practiced consistently and persistently in order to see real change. Before giving you some tips on how to make your practice sustainable, let’s recap some of the essentials from the last three weeks.
- Mindfulness can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
- Introduce mindfulness into your day by using routine moments of stillness, for example when you wake up and before you go to sleep.
- Even at work it’s possible to practice. Regularly check in with yourself via your breath. Before meetings or simply at the top of the hour you can take a couple of minutes to breathe and let go of your thoughts.
- The essential component of mindfulness is compassion. Offering compassion toward yourself and others will help you refrain from judging your practice and the insights that you attain through practice.
Some of you may still be asking yourself what the benefits of mindfulness practice are and if all the work is truly worth it. There are a number of recent studies that have documented what has been known for centuries about the abundant rewards of a consistent practice. These include:
- Mindfulness exercises train your brain to focus better. Focus is the ability to concentrate on what you’re doing in the moment. And a mindful mind is both focused and aware.
- People, who regularly use mindfulness exercises, show less signs of stress and anxiety, even in stressful situations.
- A mindful mind leads to a mindful body. Mindfulness positively impacts physical health.
- Mindfulness practitioners self-assess their overall psychological well being higher than non-practitioners.
In the beginning, integrating mindfulness exercises into your daily routine may feel like a daunting task. That’s why consistency is important. Forming a new habit can be done with a will to make that new task non-negotiable. It’s okay to be ambitious but it is also important to be realistic. Mornings and evenings are good times to use guided exercises, whereas a two-minute check in with yourself and your breath can be done while in transit or at your desk.
Alongside a consistent practice is a persistent practice. If you find your mind wandering, gently bring your awareness back to the present. Do not be content with simply going through the motions. You may find it useful to use guided exercises that remind you to come back to the present moment. Such exercises also show you just how normal it is to need reminding.
Practicing mindfulness consistently and persistently with unlimited compassion for yourself and others is life changing. You’ll find yourself open to, accepting of and grateful for the mundane through to the overwhelming experiences that life has to offer.
I wish you the diligence and patience you need so that your journey may be fulfilling.