Mindfulness is a specific type of meditative practice that is supposed to be great for everything in your life– from your blood pressure to your sense of peace– and is supposed to be a lot easier to cultivate than traditional meditative practices.
I don’t know. I don’t find “being completely present in the moment,” “noticing thoughts without judging them,” or “sitting quietly” to be easy, personally. I am always moving, thinking, listening to something, talking, figuring out what happens in my next six moments– doing something that means a little bit of me is future focused, and a little bit of me is past-focused and processing, and only a bit of me is in this moment, having this experience, which I will then process in the next moment (or the one after, or…).
But it’s supposed to be good for your health. And, this blog is about my journey toward health and wellness. So I’m going to try and practice it and see if I can get better at the practice of being mindful in my everyday life.
You are welcome to join me, starting next Monday, April 24th, for a weekly mindfulness challenge. This initial challenge will run until May 29th, 2017, and will include a new skill to practice each week. I will post a new week’s challenge each Monday, with links to further reading, options for participation, and which option I am picking to start my week off. I will write a reflection post each Friday detailing how I felt participating each week. I welcome hearing about your responses to increasing mindfulness in your daily life.
*** IMPORTANT CAVEAT***
SOME PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY THOSE WITH ANXIETY DISORDERS OR POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO EXPERIENCE WORSENING DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, OR PANIC ATTACKS WHEN ENGAGING IN MEDITATION. PLEASE CHOOSE TO PRACTICE SELF-CARE, AND IMMEDIATELY STOP PRACTICING MEDITATION IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY NEGATIVE MENTAL HEALTH EFFECTS
Week 1, Starting Monday April 24th, 2017, will focus on “traditional” mindful meditation.
This is the “sitting quietly, clear mind” type of meditation most people think of when they think of meditation. We will start with 1 minute in the morning, and work our way up from there, to 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before bed. Again, please read the IMPORTANT CAVEAT.
Week 2, Starting Monday, May 1st, 2017, will focus on mindful eating. This topic will include several options such as:
- Choose one meal a day and spend a long time savoring every bite. Don’t do anything else except experience your food, while you’re eating. (I’m terrible at that, I’m always reading/watching something/ on my phone)
- Identify hunger cues, thirst cues, and sated cues. For one whole day, eat only when you are actually hungry, and stop as soon as you feel sated. Notice the things you crave. Feel the cues, including localizing them in your body, and respond to only those cues– not time, social pressure, etc.
Week 3, Starting Monday May 8th, 2017, will focus on mindful self-care. You will be invited to identify and participate in your normal self care routines, mindfully. You will be invited to consider what self-care routines you have been neglecting, and pay attention to what your body is asking you to do for it.
Week 4, Starting Monday May 15th, 2017, will focus on mindful moving. You will be invited to identify how your body would like to move; how your body tells you that you don’t need to be moving, and how you feel before, during, and after physical activities such as walking, working out, climbing stairs, etc.
Week 5, Starting Monday May 22nd, 2017, will be focused on mindful relationships. You will be invited to spend mindful listening/communication time with other people, practicing the skill of mindful listening and emotional reflection. You will be encouraged to spend time with someone without any electronic distractions.
Monday, May 29th, I will write a recap blog post detailing what I learned, what I’m keeping, and what I’m discarding, and inviting you to share the same. I hope you will join me each week as we challenge ourselves to become ever more present in our lives and with ourselves.
This isn’t a competition. There’s no buy-in, weigh-in, cash prize, or dream vacation. There are no right or wrong answers as we move through this together. There is only me, you, and the knowledge that we can practice being more fully present in our lives if we wish to.
Will you join me?
comment below if you’re joining the Mindfulness Challenge, or if you want to share links, or tell me what your experience has been with mindfulness, meditation or online challenges. Or just tell me about your day!