3 SIMPLE WAYS TO START YOUR OWN MINDFULNESS PRACTICE

There’s no doubt that mindfulness can greatly benefit the health of your mind and body, so what’s stopping you from starting today? Don’t let time be a limiting factor with these quick ways to get started.


BY: KELSEY FYFFE, MA, LPC

Mindfulness is the practice of non-judgmentally paying attention to the present moment. And if you’re new to mindfulness, step into it with the peace of mind that there is a ton of research that show how it helps with anxiety, depression, stress, and even chronic pain.

Despite all of its health benefits, there are still many out there who are a little wary of mindfulness because of a worry that they won’t have the time or ability to do it “well.” In fact, there are many misconceptions that mindfulness requires a huge time commitment or the ability to “clear your mind.”

The truth is, mindfulness is a super versatile skill that requires minimal time. Here are a few ways to quickly get started with your practice.

1. 7/11 Breathing.

7/11 is a breathing exercise in which you attempt to breathe in through your nose for 7 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 11 seconds. The timing of your breathe isn’t really that important. The goal is to make your inhales and exhales just long enough that you really have to focus on your breath. If 7/11 is too easy, try 9/13.

And if it’s too hard, play around with a shorter pace that’s comfortable for you. Whether you practice 7/11 for 1 minute or 10, you can immediately benefit from this breathing exercise that takes your focus away from your life and aims it at your breathing.

2. Label your emotions.

How many times have you gone about your day before suddenly realizing that your anxiety is off the charts and you’re completely stressed out?

As humans, we are so good at ignoring our feelings. We do it automatically and without even trying. Taking the time to pause and simply label the emotion you’re currently experiencing (i.e. stressed, depressed, lonely) is an excellent way to learn more about your feelings. Consider pausing once per hour and label your emotions. If you do it frequently, you’ll start to notice trends in how your mood shifts throughout the day. This exercise takes like 10 seconds to complete, but when done regularly it can really help you stay on top of your feelings.

3. There’s an app for that.

There are so many amazing mindfulness apps, which take all the hard work out of practicing mindfulness. They help facilitate breathing exercises, provide guided meditations, and even relaxing audio tracks that will lull you to sleep. Many apps cost a few dollars or offer monthly subscriptions, but most include at least a few free features.

So the next time you find yourself absentmindedly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, try opening up a mindfulness app and spend a few minutes focusing on the present moment. Here are a few to consider:

Tune into the present, you’ll soon find yourself at ease.

Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: RODOLFO SANCHES CARVALHO

Kelsey Fyffe, MA, LPC is a clinically-trained therapist based in Houston specializing in anxiety and eating disorders. By helping individuals recognize that their anxiety, worries, and obsessions do not have to hold them back from living the life they want, Kelsey helps them learn the skills and strategies needed to calm their mind and feel at ease. Learn more about Kelsey at Live Mindfully Psychotherapy.

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