It’s easy to get caught up in a pattern of swirling thoughts—thinking about a laundry list of things that need to be done, ruminating on past events, or could-be situations of the future—and learning mindfulness can help. But what exactly is mindfulness?
It can be defined as a mental state that involves being fully focused on “the now” so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body.
Mindfulness techniques can vary, but in general, mindfulness meditation involves a breathing practice and awareness of body and mind. Practicing mindfulness meditation doesn’t require props or preparation (no need for candles, essential oils, or mantras, unless you enjoy them). To get started, all you need is a comfortable place to sit, 3 to 5 minutes of free time, and a judgment-free mindset.
Remember, meditation is a practice, so it’s never perfect. You are ready to begin now just as you are!
How to Get Started
Learning mindfulness meditation is straightforward enough to practice on your own, but a teacher or program can also help you get started, particularly if you’re practicing meditation for specific health reasons. Here are some simple steps to help you get started on your own.
Set Aside Meditation Time
Whether you set your alarm 30 minutes before little ones rise or set aside time to wind down a few minutes prior to bedtime, do your best to carve out a time each day to practice mindfulness mediation. And don’t be too hard on yourself if life gets in the way; just try again tomorrow.