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Mindfulness: tips for practice in everyday life

Starting a meditation practice is not easy! We know it's good for us, and we even do it from time to time... But why is it so hard to meditate regularly?

We usually find mental agitation, restlessness, tension in the body, the tone of a new message, or we are in a hurry, there is noise around... To stop and let go internal and external distractions is the foundation for creating more focus and presence in life. Perhaps the next suggestions may help you to create a regular practice.

"If we are concentrated life is deep, and we have more joy and stability. We can drive mindfully, we can cut carrots mindfully, we can shower mindfully. When we do things this way, concentration grows. When concentration grows, we gain insight into our lives.“, Thich Nhat Hanh.

Practicing mindfulness is simply training your attention to be in the present moment, attentive and receptive to what happens. And in such a fast-paced and unstable world, the practice of mindfulness meditation can offer a transformative answer to how we face life's challenges. The benefits are many and widely documented: presence, focus, tranquility, improvement of the immune system, improvement of sleep quality, resilience, creativity, etc.

However, creating a new routine requires regularity, persistence and, above all, kindness towards youself. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to keep this new activity in your life.

Think of meditation practice as going to the gym: the benefit comes from regular practice. And instead of training muscles, you'll be training your attention and sense of presence.

And remember, attitude is everything. Most people give up on meditation when they question themselves about the way they are practicing. Please don't turn meditation into a “must”, another domain of self-criticism! Instead, choose and decide internally to develop mindfulness because you genuinely want to live in peace and true to your heart.

8 tips for practicing Mindfulness:

  1. Start slowly. Do not create expectations with long periods of meditation, so you don't get frustrated. Starting with 5 minutes a day is very good and then, gradually, you can increase to 7 minutes, 10 minutes... Remember that it is more powerful to meditate 10 minutes 5 days a week than 1 hour once a month.

  2. Create a space. Try defining a place in your home to meditate. You don't need a lot of space or special equipment. You can meditate on your bed, in a chair, lying on the floor, sitting cross-legged or not. Additionally, making this space beautiful and peaceful helps inform your mind and body that this is good for you.

  3. At the same time. Choose the best time of the day to meditate and try to do it at about the same time. For some people the best time is first thing in the morning before waking up to any responsibility; or on a lunch break, or at the end of the day... Whatever the best moment for you, book it in your diary and inform your family or colleagues that you will be offline during that time. If you decide to meditate for 5 minutes in the morning, why not wake up 5 minutes earlier?

  4. Attention to posture. Meditate in the position that is most comfortable for you (sitting, lying or standing posture). The important thing is to bring a state of openness, alertness and tranquility. The lying position can be more demanding to keep you alert, however try to bring your attention to the body's threshold with the contact surface. In sitting and standing positions, try to remain alert in a posture that evokes dignity, lengthening the spine while relaxing the neck, shoulders and softening the heart.

  5. Find your attention anchor. Normally, in mindfulness meditation we focus on the breath to train attention, and we call it the anchor. Try following the breath in the body, where it is most evident to you: the rise and fall of the belly or diaphragm, the air passing through the nostrils are the most common points. If this is difficult for you, try placing one hand on your belly and focusing on the movement of the hand as it rises and falls with the breath, or focus on the sensations in the hand(s) or the movement of the whole body breathing .

  6. Thoughts are not the enemy. Many people think that meditating is about stopping thoughts. But, the mind thinks, that is its job. Mindfulness meditation helps us to let go of the tendency to be automatically absorbed by thoughts. Whenever you notice your mind wandering with memories or worries, gently bring your attention back to your chosen attention anchor (breath or bodily sensations).

  7. Noticing sounds and physical sensations. Mindfulness meditation helps us to decrease reactivity with life, and life includes unwanted sounds and unpleasant sensations. As you meditate, try not to think of them as noise or discomfort, just notice the unpleasant sound or sensation and mentally name it (this is "a voice", "horns", "numbness", "tension"). Then bring your attention back to your breath. If the situation is intolerable, take a deep breath and try to change your position; the important thing is to avoid the impulse of reactivity.

  8. Beginner's mind. Invite an attitude of curiosity and observation towards everything that happens during your practice. With kindness and gentleness, observe each moment as something new and fresh, without criticising whether it is right or wrong, perfect or reprehensible. In this way, it will be possible to cultivate greater discernment, increasing the capacity to observe and understand with impartiality the whole experience of life.

I hope this is a good support for you to create your healthy meditation routine, towards greater presence, well-being and happiness.

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