Mindfulness: A Month in Review

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“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”

-Sharon Salzberg

At the start of January, I committed to practicing a single mindfulness method: abdominal breathing. I thought that sticking to one method would help make my mindfulness practice more consistent. It turns out I was wrong…but also kind of right.

Yeah, I know I just contradicted myself. Let me explain.

The Wrong

I did a pretty terrible job of practicing mindfulness last month. Outside of my daily sitting meditations, staying mindful took a backseat to some of my other priorities. I even noticed this lack of focus halfway through the month, but unfortunately didn’t do much to change it afterward.

Having a mindfulness method did not make it significantly easier to practice mindfulness. Or at least it didn’t help me remember to be mindful.

The Right

I mentioned this in my mid-month reflection, but having a mindfulness method DID prove useful when I actually remembered to be mindful. It was a great way to not only bring my attention back to the present moment but calm my nerves as well.

The only disadvantage I found in using abdominal breathing was when I was sick. Not being able to breathe properly made those abdominal breaths quite challenging, if not impossible at times.

Renewing My Focus

Last month taught me that the only way to be consistently mindful is to maintain a strong commitment to mindfulness throughout the day. I did exactly the opposite. I made a verbal commitment to mindfulness, but in reality placed my work and other concerns above my practice.

Even though January was not a very mindful month for me, I’m still not discouraged. The fact that I’m aware of my lack of mindfulness actually shows that my practice has progressed over the years. I also recognize that January was an exceptionally hectic month for me. Expecting to all of a sudden master mindfulness while drastically increasing my workload wasn’t very reasonable. My mindfulness practice is sure to be a lifelong journey that will require me to be very patient with myself.

Instead of choosing a new mindfulness method for February, I’m going to stick with abdominal breathing. I want to see how beneficial it can be if I actually do it consistently.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Mindfulness: A Month in Review

  1. I just began a new/old practice, that I know is beneficial because I’ve done it before several times. It concerns prayer and fasting. Staying present to the moment is a life-long challenge and I applaud anyone who tries on the practice. It is far from simple or easy, and my hat is off to you for sticking with it.

    Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, and thank you for sharing your experiences and updates! 🙂
    A small tip on making it a habit, is to have some “routines”.
    Like every time you are waiting for the bus, before you leave the bathroom, etc.
    Just breathing deeply 3 times on each checkpoint.

    My best wishes for you, and have a wonderful day! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It makes me happy to see more people trying mindfulness! One thing I noticed myself saying is that I’m going to “enjoy the present” rather than “be mindful” because the first statement makes my intentions more obvious. This way, it can apply to eating food, enjoying conversations or just lying down in bed.

    Enjoy the present and leave the future and past behind.

    Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. this totally made me smile: “The only disadvantage I found in using abdominal breathing was when I was sick. Not being able to breathe properly made those abdominal breaths quite challenging, if not impossible at times.”
    i’ve been teaching mindfulness and breathing exercises for quite some years and it’s always great to hear what challenges come up… i guess since i shift my mindfulness practice every couple of days (cause my ego catches up and then i get less mindful) i never noticed that not being able to breath through the nose would end up with having difficulties staying mindful. but i’d say in the end you actually were mindful cause you realized that it was difficult… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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