Mindfulness

This program will introduce you to how we think about mindfulness and give you a practical series of mindfulness exercises that will grow your skills in this area.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is noticing where your head is at and shifting your attention where you want it to be. That is, recognizing where your mind is, and gently bringing it back to where you want it. Just notice, don’t judge, gently bring it back.

Your brain was built to think about the past so you can learn, jump to the future so you can prepare, and sometimes you get stuck there. Remember, the brain is an old model. It wasn’t built to manage all the complexities of the modern world. Mindfulness is a bit of an override, allowing you to help your brain be in the present moment.

Where do you start?

Anywhere! For mindfulness to strengthen, you simply need to do it. Slow down, notice your breathing, choose something to focus on, and as your mind wanders elsewhere, gently bring it back. Do that, and you are being mindful. You can practice anywhere. Try being mindful as you walk to work or meetings, between shifts or plays, or anytime you are feeling a bit stressed. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and we do not want it to be daunting. You can be more mindful informally, just by paying better attention.

Why use a mindfulness program?

For some people (ourselves included), we find it helpful to have someone talk to us about what to do when we are learning new skills. And that is what these scripts are for.

We suggest you try them in a quiet place without distractions initially, so you have the chance to grow the skill. And then, once you have been practicing mindfulness for awhile, you will find it easier to do anywhere, regardless of what is happening around you.

Once you practice mindfulness, you will notice that you are able to be more present, feel a bit lighter, focus more, be in better control of your mind, and be more in charge of bringing your head back on target.

Here is what we know. If you practice mindfulness 10 to 12 minutes each day for about 5 days a week, you will benefit. And mindfulness, however, whenever, and wherever you practice it, will help. Here is what we also know, anything will help. And you just need to get started.

Consistency in Mindfulness and Establishing New Habits

So, let’s do it! You spend ample time making sure your body is healthy. You drink water, eat nutritious food, get sleep, and you may even exercise. But our bet is that you spend far less time ensuring your mind is good. Consider mindfulness practice a new habit to keep your brain well. We don’t want you to do this once; because it will not help you. Lifting weights once or running one time has minimal benefit long term. Trying mindfulness once will not grow your capacity to handle stress. But weaving it into your life consistently will help you be more present when it matters most.

To add this practice to your life, we want it to become a habit. We know you will have more success if you look at your weekly schedule and plan ahead about when you want to practice mindfulness.

Go on, let’s do it.

Grab your planner, calendar, or phone. Let’s get specific. When can you practice it? Let’s do it when you do something else. Maybe it is when you first get up in the morning, or after you brush your teeth. Perhaps it is at night before bed. Or when you first get home from work, or prior to making dinner. Be specific. Plan it in. Write it in. Weave it in, so that it happens. And know yourself! What is realistic for you? If daily is not going to work, but weekends are when it will happen, then let’s do that.

Take a Deliberately Developmental Approach

Be kind to yourself, and be honest. This is not going to be perfect. You are going to mess it up, you are going to forget to do it, and you are going to stop all together at times. And all of that is okay and expected. AND every time you do it, you will learn. And each time, you will be a bit more ready the next time because all your experience is helpful. And eventually, maybe you will live a lifestyle of mindfulness because it is just the way you are and the way you live.

Want to learn more about mindfulness practice?

Introduction

Dr. Leslie-Toogood draws on content compiled from Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Dr. Amishi Jha and skills adapted by Dr. Marsha Linehan to help us get started with our mindfulness practice.

Duration: 3:28

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