One Olympic athlete uses her mindfulness practice to help her stay focused in the face of distractions during competition. Basketball stars Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan benefited from the practice too.
But, a mindfulness practice can have benefits even if you're not an Olympic athlete or sports star. Jon Kabat-Zinn (who, like me, also studied at Haverford College), has done significant research establishing that mindfulness can help people better deal with stress, anxiety, pain, and illness.
In my last post, I suggested that starting (or restarting) a mindfulness practice can have an incredibly calming impact on your life. That can be, however, easier said than done.
Here's a short guide to help you get started.
1. Make time. Unlike a yoga class, you don't need 60 or 90 minutes. Even just two minutes is a good start.
2. Observe what you're feeling. The goal of mindfulness is not to silence your thoughts or reach a state where you're not thinking at all. Instead, mindfulness is just about focusing on the present moment, without judgment.
3. While you're beginning your practice, you may find yourself judging your thoughts. Let those judgments roll by. Notice them, and then let them go.
4. Return to the present moment. As your mind gets carried away in thought, come back to what you're feeling in the present moment. A mindfulness practice is the practice of returning, over and over again, to the present.
Many people, however, prefer a guided mindfulness practice. Mindful.org and Headspace have some great options. I also frequently offer guided mindfulness exercises to my therapy clients.
If you're interested in booking an initial free 15-minute consultation, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 484-222-6436.