Mindfulness and meditation are words that we often hear floating around due to the multitude of benefits that comes with them, one of which is stress reduction. Unfortunately for many, some common misconceptions mean that people put mindfulness in the ‘too hard basket’. Countless times I have heard people tell me that mindfulness isn’t working for them or they’re not good at it. When we dig deeper into their expectations of mindfulness, they believe that it is all about relaxation or completely clearing their mind of thoughts. Although feeling blissed out and zen might be a lovely by-product of mindfulness for some, it isn’t actually about being relaxed – it’s about being present and aware.
“Some days it will be easy to let go of thoughts and focus on the breath while others it may be more challenging.”
Some tips to help you practice Mindfulness & Meditation
- It can be helpful to drop expectations that mindfulness or meditation is all about clearing the mind. Mindfulness isn’t about stopping thoughts; it’s about noticing them and choosing not to play into the stories they tell you.
- Stress reduction can come from mindfulness by being aware of when we are having unhelpful thoughts or strong emotions and choosing to shift our focus onto something in the present like the breath or the body. Try to manage expectations that it will always be a relaxing experience. Some days it will be easy to let go of thoughts and focus on the breath while others it may be more challenging. Try to notice your experience without judgement.
- Mindfulness isn’t a quick fix. It takes practice! On days where your thoughts are jumping around, continue to notice them and redirect your mind to the body, the breath or something that you are finding positive in the present moment.
- Meditation is a formal tool to help us be mindful. There are also informal types of mindfulness such as mindfully eating by noticing the tastes and textures of your food, mindful movement such as yoga or really paying attention to your surroundings and mindful conversation which can foster connection.