Do you ever feel like your brain gets stuck on repeat?
Mine does. Especially when I’m distracted or tired or just not feeling like myself. Until the last year or so, I was constantly battling my own mind, fighting my internal irrational thoughts, tearing myself down when things fell apart (usually in my imagination)…and it was exhausting!
I was introduced to mindfulness. I fought it. It was actually easier to create the situations in my head than deal with life as it occurred, but I was falling apart mentally and physically.
Have you ever just been sick and tired of being sick and tired?
That was me. I felt like a shell of a person and was unable to practice any form of self-care because I saved what tiny little bits of energy I had for my daughters. But, since we’re being honest here, my girls were getting the short end of the stick, too.
When I committed to practicing mindfulness and actually facing the daily crap, things slowly improved. I wanted instant gratification, but that just isn’t how mindfulness works. Once I was able to get my mind out of my mindfulness practice, my daily experience was enjoyable and not a constant battle.
Free your mind.
The best advice I got when I started learning mindfulness was this:
Don’t time travel.
Only go back to learn from it or gain insight.
Only go forward when it is goal-oriented.
The present moment is the only moment you have.
Having to accept all of the time I wasted living in the past or dreaming of the future really took away from actually being in the present moment. I was never in the present, and I know I missed out on a lot of life.
Well, I’m here now. And sometimes it sucks, but mostly it’s amazing. Good things, as well as bad things, come and go, but I try to face them as they are and not as I’d like for them to be.
It isn’t easy.
My brain is a bit of a control freak. However, learning to let go helps me to hang on to the really important stuff in a healthy way. While I may still get irrational at times, I am much better equipped to pay attention to what’s really going on.
Sometimes I need a nap.
Sometimes I need attention.
Sometimes I just need to be left the hell alone.
I have a choice in each of those situations, and I won’t let my brain rule me and ruin me.
How does that apply to you?
Welllllll, let’s talk about what mindfulness really is and how you can apply it to your own life.
By the way, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I have made enough mistakes to know when something is or is not working though. I’m a problem solver…it’s what I do.
What is mindfulness?
According to Marsha M. Linehan’s DBT® Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, mindfulness is
- Intentionally living with awareness in the present moment. (Waking up from automatic or rote behaviors to participate and be present in our own lives.)
- Without judging or rejecting the moment. (Noticing consequences, discerning helpfulness and harmfulness — but letting go of evaluating, avoiding, suppressing, or blocking the present moment.)
- Without attachment to the moment. (Attending to the experience of each new moment, rather than ignoring the present by clinging to the past or grabbing for the future.)
Participate in your own life as it is happening.
It is what it is. Period.
Be here, now.
The great thing about mindfulness is that it can occur in your life any time, anywhere. You choose your practice.
You can engage in mindfulness practice right now! Take a break and just focus on the sounds around you. Close your eyes. Inhale. Exhale. Just observe.
You’re being mindful! It’s that easy! When your brain runs off on a tangent, gently guide it back to what you were doing. You can’t do this wrong! It can be meditation or even contemplative prayer…your choice.
You can be mindful in your movements as well as your thoughts. Something as simple as noticing the way your feet come in contact with the ground when you walk is mindfulness practice. Just a few minutes a day of being aware and paying attention to the present moment will begin to bring about changes in the way you think and go about your daily routine.
It’s amazing, and I love it.
This week will be a series on some of my favorite ways to practice mindfulness and how to incorporate it naturally into your life.
I will address my top 10 simple ways to be mindful on a daily basis, and I will give special attention to my two greatest accomplishments (and greatest struggles) when it comes to my personal mindfulness practice.
I look forward to sharing my mindfulness practice with you!
In the meantime…
Free your mind!
Read Part 1 of the Mindfulness Series here.
Read Part 2 here.
Read Part 3 here.