How to Build A Mindfulness Practice at Home
“If you can learn how to use your mind, anything is possible.” - Wim Hof
Do you ever hear a buzzword so many times you start to wonder… Does it actually mean anything?
If you’re like us, maybe you avoid trends that seem to show up everywhere. Too popular. Hard to trust.
Like mindfulness, for example. It’s hard to escape the chorus advising mindfulness as an antidote to, well, practically anything. And while we’re the last to deem anything a cure-all, we wanted to share our thoughts on mindfulness. Because we’re very on board, trend or not.
Hear us out. Mindfulness isn’t new - it has roots in Buddhism. And it’s not going away. So although it may seem like a fad, we’d go so far as to say that we might need mindfulness more than ever.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an intentional practice where you take time to intently focus on what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment. It’s often accompanied by breathing techniques, guided imagery, and other practices that require a focal point. By focusing on the breath, you are creating time to pause, reset, and reduce pent up stress.
Mindfulness vs. Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are two terms that we hear often when it comes to coping with stressors.
Mindfulness and meditation work as reflections of each other. Mindfulness supports and strengthens meditation, whereas meditation expands a person’s ability to be mindful. At its core, mindfulness is an awareness of how you are feeling in your body and the thoughts occurring in your mind at a specific time.
A difference between the two is that you can practice mindfulness anytime or anywhere throughout the day — a big perk when things get busy. Meditation is usually practiced in a seated position for a specified period of time.
The goal of both practices is to be able to fully let go and appreciate the present moment.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Even on your busiest days — with or without kiddos — you can benefit from the calming reset mindfulness offers.
Physical Health Booster
Taking care of the mind directly correlates to the body’s health and well-being. Spending a few moments a day practicing mindfulness can boost your health in a number of different ways, including stress relief, lower blood pressure, and better sleep.
Stronger Mental Health
Stress at work, hectic schedules, and other daily life factors can all cause strain on one’s mental well-being. Turning to a mindfulness practice can help strengthen your mental health and aid many mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. In fact, those who practice mindfulness regularly relate it to a need as essential as breathing and water.
Overcoming the Challenges of a Mindfulness Practice
Like with any new habit, challenges will come up. The key is to recognize what they are, and know how to tackle them.
One key factor to forming a new habit is pairing. If you want to be successful with the process, pair your new mindfulness habit with something you already do everyday. For instance, when you’re winding down for bed, try to do some breathwork and mindfulness practices as a part of your bedtime routine. You may find it’s easier to maintain your practice.
Finding the Right Time
Having free time can definitely be a challenge. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. That can be especially true when it comes to building a mindfulness practice. So, what can you do?
Plan a time in your schedule that seems feasible. Morning, during lunch time, or at night — whatever works best for you. Take it slow, and try to build your practice into your daily routine. If you have to miss your mindfulness practice for a day, remember to be kind to yourself. The habit will become more concrete over time.
Blocking Out Distractions
Distractions can be frustrating — whether it's phone calls or yelling kids (if you’re a parent you know this well) — when you’re just beginning a mindfulness practice. Try to find a quiet place if you’re able. If that seems utterly impossible, try to turn your attention to the sounds around you for a little bit, noticing both volume and pitch. When you lean into those distractions, you’re allowing and accepting them: the very essence of mindfulness.
Ways to Practice Mindfulness
What can you do to start a mindfulness practice?
There are many ways to practice mindfulness, but if you’re just starting out, try focusing on your breathing. Notice how breath moves in and out of your body. Taking just a few minutes to pause and breathe can help you feel recharged and rejuvenated.
Another way to approach mindfulness is to simply pay attention to your bodily sensations. Slow down and bring awareness to your senses — touch, sound, sight, taste, and smell. When you eat, notice the aroma and flavors of your food. If you’re outdoors, notice the sounds of nature around you.
By paying attention to the little things, you’ll become more present in the moment — opening yourself up to living a mindful life.
Ready to Get Started?
Experiment with a daily mindfulness practice. See if you feel a difference. After all, health is self-care.
If you’d love a little additional help starting your practice, here are a few apps we recommend experimenting with.
Waking Up - This is the Sauna House’s #1 recommended app. We suggest doing the entry for 30 days. Anika Harris also has a section in the app for children's meditations!