Is Mindfulness Overrated or Just Under Practiced?
As of lately, the mindfulness movement seems to be exploding across the country. It is impossible to avoid. There are social media accounts, podcasts, and apps dedicated to mindful practice. Every self-help section of the bookstore is filled with little mindfulness journals, books and even coloring pages. Mindfulness sometimes can feel like a "fad" or just a trend, which is why sometimes people overlook it.
To some individuals mindfulness feels impossible. Anyone who has ever meditated will tell you the first couple times were extremely tough. It is hard to quiet the mind when human beings are not used to doing so. This may be the reason some people give up too early on mindfulness, or say "it doesn't work." Mindfulness is a practice, because it takes a while to learn what works best for you. The definition of practice is the customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing something.
No matter how many fancy mindfulness books one buys, the only thing mindfulness really requires is dedication. Dedication meaning devoting time to practicing, and trying again even if you feel like it "doesn't work." The most beneficial mindfulness techniques only take about 5 minutes to complete. Which is a bit easier to start with than a full hour long meditation session.
If you feel like mindfulness has never worked for you, do not loose all hope before trying the below activities:
Mindful Hand Exercise:
Grasp your hand tight for 5-10 seconds, release, and let your mind only focus on how your hand is feeling. It is important to ask yourself questions like, is it tingly, is it strained, or is it cold? Repeat this for however many minutes you need, most people only take a minute or two to do so.
Object Focus Exercise:
Find an interesting object in the room and spend 5 minutes only staring at that particular object. Let your thoughts only remain on the object, and only ask yourself questions regarding the object. If your mind starts to wander, restart.
Notice Senses Exercise:
Name two things you can taste, touch, smell, and hear in the very moment.
Turn Thoughts into Objects Exercise:
First close your eyes and then clear your mind by taking every thought that comes into your brain and turn it into an object. Make sure to take deep breaths during. As one thought comes and goes visualize pushing the thought far away.
During at least 5 minutes of your shower, visualize your soap as a way of washing away stress and anxiety. Close your eyes while doing so and imagine all your worries being taken down the drain.