Why You Haven't Jumped On The Mindfulness Train Yet
Think you don't have time for mindfulness? Or your mind is too busy and scattered to focus? Join the party, there's plenty of room for everyone.
When I talk to my friends + family about incorporating mindfulness into my daily life they look at me like I'm crazy...Seriously, they do!
"But, Merrissa, how do you have time?"
"My brain is way too busy to even consider the act of mindfulness!"
And my personal favorite, "I've got 10,000 on my to-do list. Adding one more task is the last thing I need to do." (Me too, home girl, me too!)
Actually, my dear, it sounds like you're in dire need of some soul connecting + valuable (mindfulness) time to yourself.
But I get it. Trust me, I really do. And to be honest with you, I thought "meditation" and "mindfulness" was a bunch of hokey pokey bologna before I tried it. It is so easy for me to hustle through the entire day and forget to be mindful at times. To be honest, my mind is busting at the seams with worn out dreams and what I imagine heaven will look like. (Think 1000's of Australian Shepherd puppies running the beaches of Boracay. Seriously!) Or I'll be hustling through my morning routine, go to step out of the shower and not be able to remember if I've washed my hair or not. I can't be the only one, right? Forgetting to respond to emails and losing my key fob used to be a daily ritual for me!
Even with all of that, I still continue to practice mindfulness on a day to day basis. Want to know why? Keep reading!
So maybe you don’t even know what Mindfulness is!
Mindfulness is the process of deliberately bringing your attention to whatever you are doing right now, the here and NOW—not five minutes ago and not 5 years from now. You can either continue to ready this blog post mindfully or with a mind not fully focused. It might be hard to believe but everything except for sleeping can be done mindfully!
So why can’t you jump on the mindful train?
4 reasons why you can't get on the mindfulness train + how to get on board once and for all
1. You don’t really understand it. This was one of my biggest road bumps! Here’s the deal, being mindful is not about being perfect! It’s not about being perfectly present and focused every single minute of the day. It’s not about moving through the day to day grind like a toked out hippie. Mindfulness is simply choosing to focus one’s attention on the present moment. It’s about controlling your thoughts and noticing when your mind has wandered. But it’s no wonder our minds run when we’re constantly being pulled in 10,000 different directions.
Did my husband pay the mortgage?
Did I turn the water hose off last night?
Or pay the vet bill on time?
The babysitter is going on vacation next week, who is going to watch the kids?
As a matter of fact, while you’re reading this, you’ve probably already thought about several other areas in your life that need attention. That’s where mindfulness comes into play. Try to notice when your mind is wandering and make a choice to bring it back to what is actually happening right in front of you.
2. You’re not a curious cat anymore. I think this can be the hardest part of being mindful. You see, the brain is a magnificent organ and because sometimes the present moment sucks, we’ve programmed our brains to pay attention to something less sucky or boring. Like that chocolate shake you thoroughly enjoyed yesterday or that YouTube video you’ve been dying to watch. It’s easy to pay attention to a beautiful Oklahoma sunset, puppies playing in the yard or a wild bald eagle swooping through the sky.
Unfortunately, most of the day to day details of life are far less enjoyable. The news is super depressing, the Starbucks line is backed up an entire city block, your boss is being a jerk and once again, your dishwasher didn’t unload itself. And because of these “boring” details our attempts to pay attention can quickly melt away. BUT—that isn’t being mindful; this is just us being humans. It’s our minds thinking and judging and maybe even dreading…But instead of wishing our life / reality was different what if we decided to notice what’s happening and get curious about it? Here’s what happens, you start remembering that you did in fact wash your hair; you learn that your boss is going through a divorce and in return you feel a bit more empathy for him. You remember that you had meetings all day and errands to run all evening so you give yourself a little break and stop being so hard on yourself. In general, life starts to feel a little calmer.
3. You’re like a broken record. You only correct yourself when you’re broke. When I first started experimenting with mindfulness/meditation, I only practiced when I was stressed. It took a while to realize that I could incorporate mindfulness on a regular basis and prevent moments of anxiety + tension. The more you practice paying attention to the present moment when you’re calm + happy, the easier (& WAY MORE EFFECTIVE) your mindfulness practice will be when you’re having a bitch fit.
4. You think it’s a much bigger deal than it is. Meditation / mindfulness is not only what you see in the movies. In fact, I don’t sit in my canopy and chant “Ommmm” every single time I meditate. Yes, meditation can strengthen our mindfulness forces but it’s not about getting up at sunrise and chanting for an hour. When you start implementing mindfulness, you will notice a wandering mind in the shower, during mid-morning snack or on your drive to work. Next time your mind is wandering down a path of no return, take a deep breath and focus on your breathing for 2-3 minutes. Do this in your car, while you’re getting ready for work or at your desk. And as I always say, no matter how impulsive, spacey or reactive you have been, you can always begin again. You live, you learn and then you do better. Being mindful is not about being perfect. It’s about being present and alive in the very moment we are living.
So! Are you still feeling like you don’t have enough time to be mindful? Still feeling like you’re too scattered and distracted? Remember, those are just thoughts! You can choose to take them seriously and make them your reality or notice those pesky little thoughts, get a little curious about them and then let them go in favor of more beneficial ideas.
Stay rad + kind,