3 Steps to Starting a Mindfulness Practice
10 minutes a day. That’s all you need to start a meditation or mindfulness practice. Unfortunately, very few of us take the understand how those 10 minutes can make an invaluable difference in your life. As we discussed recently, beginning a mindfulness practice will make you more aware of how you communicate with yourself, helps train your mind and your body, and increase your ability to focus. Starting a practice is not just simple, but it doesn’t require a specific location or time to do it. All it starts with is a person who is compelled to improving their life. If that is you [and it should be], and you have 10 minutes [which you do], let’s go through the 3 steps of starting your practice:
Make the Decision that Training Your Emotions and Your Mind is as Important as Training Your Body
Most people who work out believe that they don’t need to train their mind because they think that the gym or the road is their place to focus on themselves and just workout. Although working out can be a cathartic experience, very few gym-goers and athletes [even the elite ones] don’t spend time training their mind. What if when you worked out, you could be aware of your thoughts and how they were affecting your actions? That’s what mindfulness training does. It helps train your emotions and mind to be more aware of how you communicate with yourself, whether it is positively or negatively. But it all starts with a decision. A decision that internal training is just as important as training your body itself. Once you have made your decision, then it’s time to move to step two.
Look at your Current Schedule and Find 10 Minutes of Your Day That You Can Have To Yourself
Once you have made your decision to train the mind, all you need to do is find 10 minutes to yourself. This could be in the morning before you head to work, while you are taking a break, or before you go to sleep. There is no wrong time to do this. You just need to identify a time, set a reminder on your phone, and do your thing. Once this becomes more a part of your routine, and you feel to make changes, go right ahead. But in order to guarantee that you are going to it each day, find your time for a few weeks and adjust accordingly as your grow in your practice.
Breath, Observe [Don’t judge] to Your Thoughts, and Start Again
Now that you have made your decision and found the time. We can take a brief second to actually talk about the practice itself. Most people think of mindfulness or meditation and think you have to do it in a cross-legged position with your hand in prayer. This of course is not true. All it takes is being in a comfortable sitting position, hand relaxed on your lap, and your eyes softly being shut. Once you have done this - just breath in through the nose and out the mouth, and you have begun. Keep your focus on the breath - how it feels, how it sounds. As your mind wanders [and it will], just observe it, and begin again with the focus on the breath. Remember to observe the thought, don’t judge it. All that mindfulness training basically is is learning to hear your own thoughts, be aware of them, and acting in a way that is your best self. By going back and forth between breathing and a wandering mind, you will become more aware of when you are not focusing in competition situations, the workplace, or at home. And if you can just acknowledge these thoughts rather than get upset at them, you will automatically see its benefits.
Starting a mindfulness practice is much easier than what you think. All it takes is a willingness to train your mind, finding 10 minutes in your day, and an ability to re-focus. Once you have committed to these three simple tasks, you can begin a mindfulness practice that will be effective and beneficial not only to how you compete, but how you live.