Mindfulness 101 – The First Mindful Steps

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Welcome back to another instalment of “Mindfulness 101”, the series where I give hints and tips, document my own experiences and help educate on introducing mindfulness practice into your life.

This instalment is one of the most fundamental articles as I’m going to tell you how to make your “first mindful steps” into mindfulness practice.

So first to tell you the facts and fibs about mindfulness:

Facts – What Mindfulness Is

  • It is a modern practice where you pay complete attention to your personal experiences (both good and bad).
  • Recognising your feelings without getting caught up in them.
  • Identifying who you truly are not by the mistakes you’ve made or the feelings you obtain.
  • Getting yourself back to the present rather than caught up in the future or the past.
  • A way to help yourself be open to happiness.

Fibs – What Mindfulness Isn’t

  • It’s not a religious practice or affiliated with a religion. You also won’t be heading into a mystical or spiritual state – it’s not that kind of practise.
  • It’s not a process to empty the mind or to stop you from thinking.
  • It’s not about relaxation. Feeling relaxed from mindfulness practise is a by-product of successful practice.
  • It’s not to escape our personality, it’s to show us the unique character we truly are.
  • It’s not saying to live completely in the moment and not plan things or reflect. It is a way of becoming more aware and more mindful in how we live our lives.

So now you know a bit more about what mindfulness actually is I’ll tell you have you can take your first mindful steps.

When beginning mindfulness meditation and mindful breathing I’d encourage short practices such as ten minutes. This will also make it easier for you to implement mindful practice into your lifestyle. The only two things you need are yourself and somewhere to sit be it the floor, a seat or anything else.

The Practice

  1. Sit however you feel comfortable, though make sure that your back is upright for postural reasons.
  2. Look straight in front of you with a soft gaze. A soft gaze/focus means not focussing on anything in front of you and then it’ will be easier to do the next steps.
  3. Next, focus on your breathing pattern. Take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. How does your breathing feel? What part of your body moves when you breathe?
  4. On an exhale close your eyes and take in the feeling. Let your body breathe when it naturally needs to.
  5. Next, focus on your body. How does your body feel today? Is there tension anywhere? Do you feel the weight of your body as it starts to relax? 
  6. Next, listen to the world around you. What can you hear? Where is it coming from?
  7. Next, let your mind wander. Don’t focus on anything at all and let your mind do what it wants to right now.
  8. Slowly go backwards through the steps and then open your eyes.
  9. Reflect on how you now feel and what you have just experienced.
  10. That’s the end of your first mindful practise.

Hopefully, you will find some success from this. If you find it hard to practise by yourself then I’d suggest first downloading the free app “Headspace” where there are 10 free ten-minute mindfulness sessions where you will be guided through the meditation. They also have a YouTube channel that also features mini-meditations.

If there are any things you would like me to research about or to include in a future article then please feel free to contact me on my social media at any time.

Keep Mindful and Carry On,

Aeron James