If you haven’t heard by now, mindfulness is like the sh*t. No really. It can rewire our brains for the better, shrink our amygdala (alarm center), and make it less responsive to stressors. It can improve empathy, compassion, kindness, attention, memory, and concentration. (See the intro section here for more specifics on the effects of mindfulness meditation — in short, mindfulness affects at least 8 different brain regions!)
So why wouldn’t I want to try it? I got this idea in my head that I should have “mindful mornings” and practice some mindful mediation, a meditation practice that entails focusing on the breath (and then re-focusing on it should your awareness shift away from the breath). Since I like the water, I first decided that I should try this on the convention center stairs while looking out at the bay. There was 1 problem… well 2. This was the exact spot where I would sit with my 2 dogs, and they would give me kisses. I would give them treats. Long story short, mindful meditation: VETOED by 8 little legs. But the win is this: being with these little buggers puts me in the moment, so, there you go, I was being mindful after all. My awareness was in tune with what I was directly experiencing… adorable dogs, the beautiful bay, and my gratitude that I made it out here (I’m a New Yorker who moved to San Diego, a.k.a permanent vacation).
The second attempt for adopting some mindful meditation into my day was to try to do it before the walk with the dogs. I would try it in the jacuzzi. But then I found myself trying to meditate mindfully, and a thought crept into my mind:
“But I was being hilarious.”
Indeed, I was being hilarious. I can be quite creative and entertain myself. And I love my surroundings and the hot water, light music, beautiful palm trees. So again, I was being mindful (my awareness was in tune with my hilarious thoughts and in relishing my physical environment), just not the right time to try to practice mindful meditation. With mindfulness, the key is to “Be Here Now.” It does not mean the cessation of thought. If your “here” is feeling good and serving you, stick with it. Being with your thoughts can be awesome!
So when do I like to meditate? Never. Just kidding, for me, it is something I would rather do in the evening to unwind and ground myself. I use a meditation cushion and stick yoga blocks under my knees for support.
I also like mindful movement, and am a huge yoga fan. Below you can try a 2 minute mindful movement flow and see what you think!