Seven Simple Tips to Mindfulness

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

I spoke yesterday with a new friend, and towards the end of our conversation we chatted about writing styles. She’s a fly by the seat of her pants writing binger. When the muse comes, hold on tight and let ‘er rip. We talked about how one can’t force the writing, it just has to come. Except of course, for the people that works for. And this got me thinking about Mindfulness.

See, the thing is, everyone has a gimmick. Everyone’s got something they do that works for them. Does that mean it will work for you? Maybe. Probably not. Sometimes. Absolutely.

But how will you know unless you try it? I try to get across the idea of trying on clothes with my clients. When you want change to come, you’ve got to try something new. We all know the definition of insanity … doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. So if you want different results, try something new on.

Here are seven things that have worked for me, in regard to this week’s topic of engaging in Mindfulness, in no particular order:

  1. Meditate.
    I make this a daily practice. Sometimes I get in 30+ minutes, sometimes it’s 6. And other times, still, it’s a minute or less. The thing is, I know meditating works for me. It allows me to sit still and get a hold of myself, even on the busiest of days. I have  CD of the ocean waves, with varying track lengths, ranging from 6 to 18 minutes. I have meditation tracks ranging from 10-30 minutes. I try to meditate in the morning, but sometimes I don’t get to it until the afternoon or late evening. And sometimes I meditate 3 or 4 times a day, in between client sessions, phone calls, and/or meetings. The key for me is being flexible. Being flexible means releasing judgment. I’m on a meditation guideline, not a meditation schedule. It works for me.
  2. Go outside.
    I work from home these days, but even when I didn’t, I had a tendency to let myself only see fresh air from the inside of my office. I’d walk from my house to the car, then the car to the office and reverse it on the way home. Getting outside and feeling the sun or wind or fog on your skin is good for your mind. It helps you create a physical shift when you might jut want to hole up and shut yourself off from the rest of the world. Working lunches, working through lunch, pretending a Nestle Crunch bar and a liter of water is a balanced meal…these are not conducive to engaging in mindful behavior.
  3. Journal.
    Now, I’m a writer, so writing works for me. 750 words of it, every day. It helps me get the brain drain off of my mind so I can start my day with a clear head without having to think about all that crap swimming around in there, dying to be heard. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, writing in a journal on a consistent basis is a great way to increase awareness and engage in mindful behavior because you’re releasing the clutter from your mind. You’re sifting through all that’s there so you can pull out what’s important. If it doesn’t happen right away, give it some time and practice; the important pieces will always find you.
  4. Create accountability.
    I have a coach. Several of them, in fact. I check in with at least one of them every week, usually around the internal growth I’m focusing on. It helps to not only have someone I trust to bounce ideas off of, but also someone to call “bullshit” on me when I’m not doing what I said I would do. You don’t have to hire a team of coaches, or even one, to do hold yourself accountable—although someone tends to be more honest and to the point when that’s what you’re paying them to do. But if hiring a coach isn’t in your bag or budget, find someone you trust to help you with accountability. Be partners where you hold them accountable, and they hold you accountable. It works if you work it, it won’t if you don’t.
  5. Release judgment.
    Notice I didn’t say, “Don’t judge yourself.” We’re so used to judgment, it’s become a natural reaction to many of the things we do in our daily lives. We’ve practiced judgment, and now we’ve gotten pretty good at it. Now I’m asking you to practice releasing judgment. That means: let it go. How do you do that? The same way you drop a hot potato: you drop it. Releasing judgment means having compassion for yourself in having the judgment in the first place. Say to the judgment or judging voice, “Thank you for serving me, and now I let you go in peace.” Or you can tell it to get the hell out of your head, depending on your mood. Your call.
  6. Sit still.
    This can sound and feel a lot like meditating, but I assure you, it’s different. When I’m feeling rushed or notice that I’m dropping things or spilling things or knocking things over, all in a short period of time, I take a seat. I sit still. Sometimes I close my eyes. Sometimes I take a deep breath. But the part I know that works for me is the sitting still. Sitting still puts me in a place to close my eyes or take a deep breath (or several). Sitting still allows me to slow down and be mindful of what’s important, and it’s usually not rushing around so I drop or spill things, or flat out knock them over. Just 30 seconds does the trick, usually, although on the occasions when I’m really riled up (like yesterday when I spilled water on the couch and floor, knocked my tomato soup onto the floor, and dropped the wet, soupy towel I’d used to clean up with on the freshly cleaned floor) I take two or three minutes and just sit and breathe.
  7. Read.
    I read blogs, I read books, I read magazines, I read napkins, I read, I read, I read. Reading what’s going on in someone else’s mind helps me gain perspective on what’s going on in my own mind. When I find that I’ve got 497 unread items in my Google Reader, I know I’ve been stuck in my head for too long. I certainly don’t spend my entire day reading (at least not during the week), but I do try to carve out time daily to read through my favorite blogs and magazines. I also try to read for 30 minutes for business in the morning and 30 minutes of leisure at night, just to get my brain going in my right direction. Take note of what reading gets your brain going in her right direction, and let your eyes graze across the page.

Will these things work for you? Maybe. Probably not. Sometimes. Absolutely. Try them on and see what works for you. And I’d love to hear/see what works for you in the comments…after all…sharing is caring.

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Rachel_Spangler July.14.2010 at 7.33 pm

I create accountability on facebook. I say things like “I'm going to write 10,000 words this week.” Then I post my progress for all my friends/fellow writers to see. They help cheer me on and occasionally if they notice me playing too many games or posting too many youtube videos they tell me to get back to work.

Teryll July.15.2010 at 11.00 pm

I loved this post Dian. All of these suggestions seem so doable. Thanks!

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