Did your team get invited to dance?
I know, sorry for all of the March Madness references here…there’s nothing remotely related to basketball in this post… Here’s to hoping that your team made it to the Sweet 16… (mine did not, sadly, and I am thankful that I didn’t bother to create a bracket this year!) Well, whether that’s a source of stress for you, or whether life’s got you in an imbalance, there are many ways to deal/cope/survive/thrive during these times.
As a quick recap, I’ve been using Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s book, ‘Wherever you go, there you are’– It’s a great beginner’s read for how to incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life. Honestly, just reading the book is helpful enough to sort of unwind from your day and learn to breathe. A lot of mindfulness is centered around breathing. It’s funny, it’s something that we’re programmed to do, yet your breath is a powerful indicator of how you’re feeling. Stress can cause us to take shallow, quick breaths, for example. The great thing is that, just tuning in to your breath can help with calming down your mind. (Get it, being mindful of your breath?!)
And although, I’m sure you’re enjoying reading my posts about beginning my journey into mindfulness, I thought it would be helpful for you to hear about experiences from someone a little bit more experienced than myself! Kristen from Co-Creating Life has been practicing for 4 years now, and she had some great insight that might be helpful for all you new-practitioners as well! So, I’m going to show you a bit of a compare and contrast (between a beginner and a pro!) to show you how your practice can really evolve!
You all know why I started my journey with mindfulness, but I wanted to share why Kristen did. She was unhappy with being angry, low self-esteem, and worrying all of the time. She spent a good 6 months researching meditation before really starting her practice! I think that this excellently depicts how we all have to start our own journeys in our own way! When I want to get something started, I have to start reading too, but I have to make a written game plan of how I will do it!
I was also curious to see what Kristen’s practice looked like. As a beginner, my practice consists of these few things: intentional breathing (sitting down and trying to slow down my breath and clearing my mind), checking in with my surroundings and taking notice of what’s around me, and doing little scans of my breath and body. Kristen also incorporates a lot of intentional positivity- taking walks, saying positive things to herself, self-care, peaceful music, and, of course, sitting down to meditate. Ultimately, it is something that can easily be incorporated to EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of your life! It takes a lot of work, and I think it’s an excellent tool to start off small, and work your way up!
The effects that I’ve felt from my experience with mindfulness have been small. I think it’s really helped with a few situations when I could feel stress mounting inside of me, but I know that I have a long way to go until I reach a point of preventing that mountain of stress. Kristen’s practice has really helped her with changing her mindset, eliminating her stress, and really having control over whatever she’s upset or anxious about. Mindfulness really gave her a sense of control over herself and she really feels that’s the biggest effect it’s had on her. (Hearing her say this really got me super excited about continuing my journey!)
Last but not least, I asked Kristen for a little piece of advice to give to all of us novices. “Don’t judge yourself because you didn’t meditate that day or because you could have handled a person cutting you off while driving better. Just look at the situation, know you need to do better, and try again the next day!”
This cute sweater dress is from Zara (of course). The material is sweater like, but is actually not too thick (so good for those early Spring days) Unfortunately it’s no longer online (they change their inventory TOO FAST!). But here are a few slightly similar midi dresses that you can belt to basically get the similar look (here and here).
Next week’s our last of the month! Stay tuned for the rest of my Journey through 30- March Mindfulness!!