Mindfulness doesn’t have to be shrouded in mist & fairy dust
Hey guys! Kimmy is here sharing a post this morning. Today at 3pm central time I’ll be posting a new “watercolor therapy” post. I hope you enjoy :)
When I first started hearing the word mindfulness, I was still stuck in my bubble of self-alienation. I really thought it was too simple to be effective. (Sidenote: how many times have I come to this realization throughout various lessons in my life? You’d think I would have learned by now…)
The more I looked into it though, it seemed to be an ethereal concept, something that people loved to talk about and praise, but I could never seem to get a solid answer as to how to achieve mindfulness. I was met with a chorus of “just breathe” and “look within”–I became frustrated. What was I missing? Clearly, something – because bookstores generally don’t dedicate entire aisles to myths…although, there is an exception to every rule, but the genre of diet books already has that covered.
Over time, once I decided to stop banging my head against a wall in order to “do mindfulness the right way” I began to realize that mindfulness actually is quite simple. It isn’t a formula that pumps out uniform results, it’s not a magical elixir with the power to coat you in life-proof fairy dust.
What it is: any method that grounds you.
It’s a practice that brings you peace and purpose and power as a tenant on this Earth, and as the captain of your body, the vessel that carries you through life. It can be and often is different for each person.
That being said, I would like to share a simple and lovely technique I have discovered that works beautifully in the paradox of my life as a twenty-something-year-old over thinker. I can be frantic over a deadline, I can be amped up in anticipation of a date (hypothetically, of course), or I can be angry at Netflix for not having the power to whip out a new season of Grey’s early–this technique works in an infinite number of scenarios, and only takes a few minutes from my day.
At this point, I would like to note that I am not at all against or for any one form of mindfulness; I admire those who are able to mediate for an hour. At this point in my life, though, I’m just not there, yet. One day. In the meantime, this is what I’ve got and I love it.
OK. SO…I begin by closing my eyes, and try to picture my heart beat slowing and each beat getting more pronounced. Sometimes I breathe in and out deeply, sometimes I just go with the flow. I always calm down when I realize how informative sounds can be when your eyes are closed. Then, I ask myself: Which of my character strengths will I bring forward right now?
I like this question because it helps me feel confident and capable, because it reminds me that whatever it is that I am searching for is already something I inherently am if I allow it to come forward. It prepares me to handle any stressors or weights on my shoulders at any given moment. It also allows me to find clarity and refocus on what matters most to me at this time. We all carry around backpacks of unconscious beliefs we hold about ourselves, and thanks to the negativity bias humans are predisposed to, generally, these beliefs aren’t too kind.
Here’s an example of how I have practiced it in my life: I recently found myself biting my fingernails and glancing at the clock restlessly, counting down the time until my returning member phone interview for the Student Alumni Association. As the scheduled time arrived, my mind went into overdrive, coming up with all the possible reasons why my phone hadn’t rung yet, why I wasn’t outgoing/cool/popular/fill-in-the-blank-here enough to get back into the organization again this year. Negative thoughts started popping up. I closed my eyes, visualized, and whispered to myself “zest”. Reminding myself of this quality was a pop-talk, mindset reframe, reset all in one. When the phone finally rang, I answered, actively thinking about how I could encourage the playful, exciting part of me to come to the surface, even though I was intimidated.
If you are currently cultivating a mindfulness practice, share your experience with it, I’d love to hear if you have developed or discovered any other techniques that work particularly well for you!
As always, thank you for reading my words. Y’all are making my dreams come true.