Mindfulness means focusing your attention on the present moment without judgment.
You may have had the experience of driving your car and arriving at your destination without remembering how you got there. Or there may be times when you realize your plate is empty, shortly after you sit down to eat, but you have no memory of eating - it’s as if you’re on “autopilot.” When you’re on autopilot, you miss out on living your life to the fullest.
Mindfulness is the opposite of this mindless, autopilot state. With mindfulness, you pay attention to your thoughts, emotions, and body without judging or analyzing them.
Research shows that mindfulness can help you:
- Lower your anxiety and stress
- Improve your mood and overall well-being
- Improve your memory and help you focus on tasks
- Strengthen your immune system
- Lower inflammation
How do I kick-start my mindfulness practice?
The goal is to practice mindfulness meditation for at least 10 minutes each day for 30 days. You can do this in different ways:
- Listen to 1 or more of the WILD 5 Meditations below.
- Use a meditation app.
- If you already practice mindfulness meditation, we encourage you to continue your practice.
Tips to start your mindfulness meditation practice:
There’s no right or wrong way to practice meditation.
Your mind may wander frequently during some practices, and less during others. This doesn’t make one practice better than another – they simply are what they are. Keep in mind that one element of mindfulness is being non-judgmental. As you begin your practice, be kind to yourself and make it a priority to practice consistently.
Decide when you will meditate
Setting aside a specific time of day can help make your practice part of your daily routine.
To ensure that you’re not interrupted, let people know that you’ll be unavailable during your practice. Consider leaving your phone in another room or putting it on silent.
What might keep you from meditating?
Here are a few challenges you might come across, and tips on how to overcome them:
If you have never meditated, and you’re worried you won’t do it correctly, you’re not alone. Anyone can begin and grow a mindfulness meditation practice. Remember:
- You can use the WILD 5 Meditations or an online meditation app to guide you.
- Distractions during your practice are normal. Please be kind to yourself when your mind wanders. Even the Dalai Lama talks about his mind wandering during meditation.
- A mindfulness meditation practice is built through practice, patience, and self-compassion.
- There is no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ mindfulness meditation practice.
Lack of time
Making time to practice your meditation consistently is important to get the full benefits. Regular practice creates lasting positive changes in your body and brain and works to improve your mental health. Consider these general tips:
- If time is a challenge, you can break the 10-minute-meditation into two, 5-minute blocks
- Add your practice to your calendar and set reminder alerts
- Tell your family and friends when you’ll be meditating to avoid being interrupted
When you begin your mindfulness meditation practice, you may feel frustrated or bored. No matter what feelings you have – good, bad, or indifferent – do your best to stick with the practice and remember there is no right or wrong way to meditate.
Perfection is not the goal.
Be kind to yourself as you begin making these changes. Change can be challenging. If you miss a day or two, shake it off, regroup, and keep going!