What Is Mindfulness? – Start Today
Hey, You! Pay Attention!
People seem to think mindfulness is complicated, but it’s actually very simple. Mindfulness means paying attention. Sure I know what you’re thinking, “I’m already paying attention.” But what are paying attention to?
We have million things to pay attention to. We pay attention to Email, to Facebook, to Reddit, to Google, to iPhones, and to TV. In the past decade the things we pay attention to have grown exponentially. Which means there is less of our attention to see what’s going on in our heads.
It’s Kids Play
When I was a kid I always thought my mom had eyes in the back of her head. She always knew when I was trying to pull something off. I didn’t fully understand this until I took a job teaching preschool.
It’s easy to tell when kids are getting into trouble. They look suspicious, they get really quiet, and something is clearly going on. Kids don’t realize how obvious they are. From their perspective you seem super human when you catch them.
The reason teachers and parents can catch little kids sneaking around is they have a larger perspective. The kid’s perspective is this little box, but the parents can see the big picture.
You’ve probably already had this experience. It happens a lot to people when they exercise. It’s often called, ‘being in the zone.’ Your mind opens up and you aren’t so focused on the small things. Instead, you get a big picture view of your life.
This is why exercise is so therapeutic; it helps us make this shift. People have told me they love exercise, because it helps them process their day, see things in a new way, and even solve problems.
Sometimes this shift in perspective is more dramatic. There are moments when, all of a sudden, we shift from the little box to the big picture. It feels like we’ve woken up out of a fog and we can see clearly at last. We call them epiphanies, realizations, or A-ha moments.
In one moment our whole perspective on the world and our lives changes. These moments give us great joy and can start us on the path of enduring transformation.
What’s amazing is we don’t have to wait around for these moments to happen. We can plant the seeds for these life-changing moments everyday. We just have to have the right tools.
That is what the Mindful Fitness Movement is all about. Exercise will help you have a more fit body, but if your mind is still clouded you’ll have the same problems in a slimmer body. Mindfulness can help you be calm and relaxed, but without taking action you can slip into dullness.
When you combine these two practices your life will become a give and take of realization and actualization. The fitness practice helps clear your mind and the mindfulness practice gives you the confidence to keep going.
When you engage in mindful fitness, you can do more then simply create a healthy mind and fit body. You can reduce your suffering, grow inside and out, and change your life for the better. I know because I’ve lived this transformation first hand.
A 5-Minute Solution
So you might be thinking GREAT! But how the heck do I practice mindfulness? My life is hectic and I can hardly find time to exercise. Mindfulness is the realm of monks, new agers, and yoga teacher, but in truth mindfulness is for everyone.
The great thing about mindfulness is that you can start by practicing for just 5 – 10 minutes a day. You’ll be amazed by how big a difference 5 minutes a day makes. You just have to be willing to give it a try.
There are two simple practices that take 5 minutes or less a day:
The 5-Minute Meditation
Meditation can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is an easy way to get started. Just follow these three rules
1. Meditate for 1 – 3 breaths at a time.
2. Start with 5 minutes a day.
3. Do it regularly
(Great times to start the meditation habit are before or after exercise, first thing in the morning, or last thing at night)
Here is a simple meditation you can try.
- Pay attention to your breath as it goes in
- Notice as it switches from in to out
- Pay attention to your breath as it goes out
- After 1 – 3 breaths stop
- How did you do? This isn’t about good or bad. It’s just about checking in.
- OK now start again
Remember it’s totally normal for your mind to wander. That’s why we stop after just a couple of breaths. Meditation isn’t about laser focus for hours (unless you are a Zen master). It’s about working out our attention muscles. Little by little meditation helps us create space in our lives.
The One Sentence Journal
Journaling can seem like this huge endeavor, but it can actually be very simple.
For years I started and stopped journals, because I thought I had to write a chapter a night. After all, what will the ghostwriter use for my memoir? Then I discovered one-sentence journaling.
The concept is simple: Just write one sentence about your day everyday. It can be mundane, profound, or silly, but write one everyday. This makes reflection an easy daily practice. If you want to see some of mine you can go to twitter.com/MindFitMove or search for the #1senjournal on twitter.
The key is to do these practices whole-heartedly. These practices will support you in creating a healthy mind and fit body. If you do one of both of these practices everyday for a month, you will be amazed what you will learn about yourself.
You’re Not Alone
No one can walk the path for you, but that doesn’t mean you have to walk it alone. My mission is to support anyone who wants to reduce suffering, grow inside and out, and change his or her life for the better.
Get started is by signing up for The Mindful FitnessMovement Blog. You will receive new practices 3-4 times a week to help you build a healthy mind and fit body. As a thank you I’ll send you a free eBook that has 10 simple Mindful Fitness practices to start transforming your life today.
The next step is to join MindFitTeam. MindFitTeam is a community of like-minded individuals who use mindful fitness practices to maintain a balanced approach to enduring transformation.
MindFitTeam members get
- 2 One on One Mindful Fitness coaching sessions a month
- 3 webinars a year about a different mindful fitness topic
- Answers to your questions and challenges
- And a Monthly eBook full of daily practice tips, insight, and support
Right now the first month and eBook on Awareness are free and after that it’s just $29 a month. I always offer a full no questions asked money back guarantee. If at any time you don’t feel you’ve gotten your moneys worth out of any of my offerings I’ll be happy to refund your money.
No matter who you are or what your fitness goals are, Mindful Fitness can get you there in a balanced and sustainable way. Whenever you’re ready to start your mind and body fitness journey please let me know. I can’t wait to help you make Mindful Fitness part of your life.