Creating a mindfulness routine can be intimidating, but don’t let that hold you back. You need to experience and discover mindfulness yourself before leading others. Here are my top 5 suggestions for getting started:
1. Commit to a routine.
There are so many things going on in a given day, and it’s easy to make excuses to skip your practice. But to really reap the benefits of mindfulness, it needs to become a part of your daily life. That said, each day can be different! Whether you have 10 minutes, 1 hour, or even just one minute, make a point of tuning in every day.
2. Be open-minded and forgiving.
I always tell my students there is a reason that we “practice” mindfulness. It is not something to be mastered or checked off a list. And...it’s hard! Your mind WILL wander, I assure you. Mine does all the time. That’s okay, you’re not doing it “wrong.” The beauty about mindfulness is that there is no wrong or right, better or worse. When you notice your mind wander, forgive yourself and simply come back to the present. And if you have a day where you just can’t focus, be proud that you tried and come back again tomorrow.
At the end of your practice, take a moment to reflect. This could be as formal as writing in a journal about your experience or it could as simple as taking a short moment to acknowledge how you felt before and after. If practicing with others, you could chat about it. Reflecting on your practice is important because it helps you…
4. Find what works for you.
There is no wrong way to practice mindfulness. However, there will be certain exercises that work better for you than others and maybe some won’t work at all! That’s okay; let that one go. Try out different methods, various lengths of practice, new environments. When you find what works for you, it will help you stick to your commitment and have you looking forward to your daily practice.
5. Lead by example.
Whether you are a teacher leading a class, a parent teaching a child, or simply a friend sharing with another friend, it is important that you honor your commitment to yourself first. Just like you can’t teach math without first fully knowing the concept, you can’t lead mindfulness without practicing yourself. To be a teacher, you must know what it is you are teaching. The beauty of it is, in mindfulness, you will learn as much from those you are teaching as you have learned in practicing yourself.