Mindfulness - A Beginners Toolkit

September 1, 2016

 

Mindfulness is the skill of being deliberately attentive to one's experience as it unfolds - without the superimposition of our usual commentary or conceptualizing. Imagine that?

 

 

 

The skill of mindfulness is cultivated through meditation practices and there are endless varieties to choose from. 

 

This Beginner's Toolkit is intended to offer a variety of simple techniques that can be used anytime you choose to sharpen the concentration of your mind and develop mindfulness.

 

1. Shamatha {Mindfulness} Meditation. 

 

A very basic meditation practice that builds a strong foundation. Simplicity is key, as you take a comfortable seat, place your attention on breath, and keep returning to your breathing upon noticing distraction from this focal point. For further direction read more here: _______________________

 

 

2. Mindful Eating

 

Although 3 meals a day are recommended, today's modern age often leaves our nutrition to the backseat of work, family obligations, and time. Many people find themselves eating meals in front of the computer, behind the steering wheel, or in conversation. For this practice you will dedicate one meal to mindfulness. A wonderful way to fully nourish yourself by quite literally, being with your food. Allow yourself the space to have no distractions for the one meal. Take it slow. Use all of your senses. Smell the food before you eat it and notice how this feels to you. Feel the food in your mouth before chewing, notice the taste and texture. Take your time chewing eat bite fully and place your fork down between bites. It takes time. It may feel uncomfortable at first. Remember that it's just a process you may not be used to. If you notice distraction or regular habits creeping in, gently place your attention back to the focus of mindful eating. Another aspect of mindful eating is to notice how the food is making you feel physically as you are eating and 5, 10, or 20 minutes once you're done. It's a great way to become attune with what foods serve to nourish your body, mind, and spirit. 

 

 

3. Mindful Hygiene

 

It's likely that you take a shower and brush your teeth everyday, or at least hopeful that you do. Seriously, how often are you actually present with what you are doing while brushing your teeth of taking a shower? This is a great practice to cultivate mindfulness, as it's not too formal and happens everyday already. The next time you go to brush your teeth, be present and aware. Place your attention on the sensation of brushing your teeth. Feel the hand movements, bristles on the gums, and tingling of toothpaste. Or open your senses to experience a shower with full presence. The idea is to keep your attention on the action and sensation of what you are doing in these moments and the practice is that anytime you notice your attention has wandered away in thought or to something else, simply draw it back to the focus at hand. 

 

 

4. Mindful Chores

 

Although many of us have dishwashers nowadays, and/or cleaning crews to take care of household tasks, this is another always at your disposal tool. Whether you are washing dishes, vacuuming, or gardening in the yard; it's all about being present with what you are doing in the moment. If it's dishes, take it one dish at a time. Be with the dish you're washing and take your time with it, using senses for a full experience. While vacuuming, keep your attention with one swipe forward and one swipe back, continuing on mindfully in this way. If you notice thought takes your attention away or that you begin moving the machine with frantic speed, there is the practice. Simply return to mindful vacuuming, without additional judgments, evaluation, or commentary. Allow yourself to be with one action at a time, enjoy the journey, experience it. Can you think of any other chores to try this with?

 

 

5. Mindful Movement/Exercise

 

Mindfulness can be applied to any and every physical activity. Many studies have documented the improved benefits of bringing mindful attention to exercise. So the next time you go to the gym or for a walk, see how it changes for you when you bring full attention to your workout. If it's walking, you'll simply be taking one step at a time. Feeling the sensation of your feet rolling from heel to ball of the foot. If you're weight training keep the attention with sensations in your body, with the feeling of this rep as it's happening and only when complete remain aware with the next. When using the treadmill or elliptical machines, keep the TV and music off, put your phone away, and be with the movement. Keep present with what is going on in your body. With any of these activities, when the mind gets distracted for your focus, just draw it back. If you haven't already tried it, yoga is a great practice that blends physical movement with focused attention. Perhaps it may be good to give it a try on your journey.

 

 

When it comes to mindfulness, the toolbox for life could actually be a shop full with multiple boxes. The above 5 tools are great for beginners because they stick to the basics, using focal points that already exist in your life and are easily accessible within any day. 

 

Start slow and try it whenever you feel inspired to do so. Be curious about what you can discover in the mundane, simple things in life. You may just surprise yourself. 

 

Keep the practice simple. 

1. Choose your focus (breath, food, shower, etc)

2. Place your attention on your chosen point of focus

3. Upon noticing you've become distracted, bring your attention back to your focus

 

It's literally that easy and difficult all at the same time. Find the fun in it!

 

BONUS! Tool #6 is waiting for you. This tool requires another person, but is still a great option for the beginner. Add another tool to your box here: _________________.

 

 

 

**Thinking this seems simple, yet still looking for more guidance or support? No worries, we gotcha covered! Schedule a consultation or book private coaching by contacting us directly at 1.800.206.8517 EXT 707

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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