As the seasons begin to shift from summer to autumn, we find ourselves in new routines. The long lazy days of summer often become busy with back to school and new activities. The change of seasons is a perfect time to begin a new routine, particularly one that refreshes and renews us by incorporating self-care. As we begin to move into busier schedules and more hectic days, while self-care takes on greater importance it can often be pushed to the back burner.
Mindfulness meditation practice is a wonderful form of self-care that can easily be incorporated into your everyday life. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness is beneficial in increasing resilience, memory, focus, and relationship satisfaction. It has also been proven effective in reducing stress, rumination, and emotional reactivity. Why not start this new season off right by creating a new routine practicing mindfulness meditation, even if it’s only five minutes a day?
Here are several tips that can be helpful in creating a new mindfulness meditation practice:
- Set an intention to practice. Setting an intention to practice can be a helpful way to stick to your new routine. Take a few moments and reflect on why you would like to develop a mindfulness meditation practice. It may be helpful to write this intention down and have it handy as a reminder for those moments you may not feel like practicing. For example: I would like to meditate for ten minutes each morning upon waking, so that I am more present for the time that I spend with my children before school
- Create a practice space in your home. Creating a space in your home which is dedicated to your mindfulness meditation practice can be extremely helpful. If possible, try choosing a quiet space free of distractions and visual clutter. A corner of a room, or any other space in your home will work wonderfully.
- Set a consistent time to practice. While creating a mindfulness meditation practice it is often helpful to practice at the same time everyday. Try carving out time in the mornings before work or in the evenings before bed. Note that any time you can fit into your schedule will work just fine.
- Start Small. Build your mindfulness meditation practice up slowly. Start by dedicating even 5 minutes of your day to meditating. Every few weeks, when it feels right for you, try adding another minute of practice. Eventually you will find your own personal sweet spot!
- Be kind with yourself. While practicing mindfulness meditation the mind will wander. The intention is not to get rid of your thoughts, but to notice them and return to the task at hand, whether it be focusing on the breath, sound, physical sensations etc. Awareness of breath is a very commonly used mindfulness meditation practice because our breath is so accessible. Try focusing attention on your breath and as you notice the mind wandering, gently guide it back to the breath with kindness and self-compassion. Through this practice we are cultivating a greater awareness of where our attention is directed. This training of the mind allows us to stay close to our moment-to-moment experience and be present.
Wishing you success as you formulate your new mindfulness meditation practice and a sense of renewal as we enter this seasonal transition!
For those who may not be familiar with mindfulness or meditation:
Mindfulness, very simply put, is moment to moment awareness without judgement. More formally, mindfulness is the “the awareness that arises from paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally”- Jon Kabat-Zinn. The intention behind mindfulness meditation is to focus on the task at hand, being present with each moment as it unfolds. There are a variety of formal mindfulness meditation practices such as awareness of breath, body scan, awareness of sound etc. The Krame Center For Mindful Living’s Website and The Krame Center For Mindful Living’s YouTube Channel are wonderful resources if you are looking to explore these practices.