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Why It’s Not a Good Idea to ‘Practice’ Mindfulness

Mindfulness is everywhere. There are workshops, seminars, and courses on mindfulness at every turn, not to mention a steadily growing number of self help books on the subject.

However, unless you are introduced to mindfulness properly, you may well end up feeling more stressed when you try it, rather than less!

Why is this?

Mindfulness as it is meant to be should not be yet another ‘doing’, another practice session or course you have to attend. Mindfulness is a way of being, a way of living the life you already live, but in a richer and more fulfilling way. You don’t need to ‘do’ mindfulness. Instead, simply endeavour to ‘be’ mindful whenever you can. You shouldn’t feel the need to set aside time to practice! Nor should you wonder whether you’re doing it ‘right’, or getting ‘better’. Every time you are mindful will simply be different from every other time you are mindful–neither better nor worse. And every time you are mindful, your life will seem richer, more fulfilling and more interesting than it would have been had you spent that time in unawareness, worry, or regret.

So please, forget about mindfulness practice sessions, or required time outs for guided meditations or whatever–unless of course, you’d love to spend time in that way.

To be truly mindful, simply follow theses guidelines:

Whenever you remember, check out how you are breathing. The best way to breathe is slowly and steadily, in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Once you’ve breathed in this manner for five breaths, look around you. What’s going on? What can you see? hear? taste? smell? feel? Observe anything and everything–right here, right now, in your mind as well as in your environment. Don’t judge what you’re experiencing. Instead, simply describe it to yourself–without comparing, criticising, regretting or anticipating. Simply know it.

Relieving yourself of judging and criticising, and balancing your body by healthful breathing will allow you to feel calmer and more focused, for however long you exist in this way. You’re also likely to remember what’s happening better (because you’re focusing on it properly, rather than planning and/or reminiscing at the same time) and enjoy whatever it is more (because you’ve taken a break from judging and criticising and have instead simply accepted).

The more you live in this way–this mindful way of being–the calmer and more fulfilled you’ll be.

Enjoy!