Mindfulness….the technique and word that has become “on trend” and for many people starting their mindful journey can be so overwhelming right? They tell you to eat right, exercise, journal, stay positive, meditate, do yoga and a whole lot more. And if you’re anything like me when I started, you really don’t know where to start.
It can be overwhelming and when you’re not in the right headspace who even knows where to start. That was me. Six years ago when I had my break down and my psychologist told me to look into mindfulness, I looked at her blankly thinking “what are you even talking about and how do you think I’ve got time to do all of those things?” Mindful living is living with intent, self awareness, being present in your thoughts and the ability to slow your breathing and nervous system to bring calm.
I started with some simple basic things to help me because I knew that doing everything at once was not sustainable for me. Once I started with these few fundamentals because they were simple things I could do as a starting point.
1: Positive Post Its: Start by writing positive notes or quotes on post it notes around the house. Seeing and reading positive things is a good reminder [and start] to getting in the right headspace. I’m not saying every day is roses or positive but when the chips are down and you go to the toilet and happened to see a bright coloured post it note with a simple little positivity on it, it can make a difference. I’ve since turned my post its into a set of Affirmation Cards so I can see them every day.
2: Create a Check Point: This might be carrying something in your pocket, a drink bottle, when you touch a door handle. Every time you touch, pick up or have a drink you take a few deep breathes to calm you down. Really deep breathes….in through the nose and out through the mouth. Shallow breathing is a sign of stress and anxiety so taking deep breathes calms the nervous system and helps you be present. I carry around a crystal in my pocket so it’s a good check point for me but after recently doing some coaching with Clair Hill she suggested the door handle which has also been a good one.
3: Mental Stocktake: Basically a meditation….but again if you’re like me you aren’t ready to sit in a deep meditation because you start overthinking what you’re meant to be thinking when you are sitting in your own thoughts. For me I created a routine where I make my morning coffee and then pop on a meditation from Spotify (we have some on our playlist) that wasn’t deep, was only for 5 minutes and allowed me to dream. Meditation can be different for everyone so don’t put a high expectation on yourself of doing a deep 30-60min meditation when starting out. That’s why a basic Mental Stocktake can be good.
4: Gratitude: Again if you’re just starting out you might be thinking you have to write a list of 50 things you are grateful for. No. You. Don’t. Start by writing down at the end of each day, 1 thing you are grateful for in a journal [see Me Time Journal]. It might be your favourite song on the radio, that you went for a walk, that a friend made you smile etc. Once you’ve done this for a month, try extending out to 3 things per day.
5: Full Cup: We often are taking care of everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves. Self Care is important, and something you should never feel guilty about. It doesn’t need to be costly or extravagant and can be basic things that make you smile or you love. Have a bath, watch your favourite tv show, read a book, do some colouring in, put your favourite song on and dance, or simply having a nap. So at the end of the week do something for you, to fill your cup.
These were all little things that I started doing when I began my mindful journey. One thing I must also remind you is that you don’t need to do them all together if it’s too much. Select maybe 1 thing and focus on doing that so it becomes a habit and part of your every day life. Small steps is better than no steps. Don’t overload yourself or compare yourself to someone else on the internet that may be further into their mindful journey than you.
I share many tips, techniques and strategies that work for me on social media so you can try what you resonate with. Some will work for you, some won’t. Like me, some have worked and I love and others I just can’t get the hang of, or I wasn’t a fan.
So that’s the basics to get you going, to help implement mindfulness into your world, to assist your mental health journey and becoming self aware and present in your thoughts.
I hope these top tips helped reduce your overwhelm and will get you on your mindful way.
Founder – My Mindful Year