Mindfulness Training for Health and Wellbeing

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How are the New Year’s resolutions coming along?  In the lead up to 2013, your are firm and committed with your plans.   You say something like this:  “As soon as the clock strikes 2013, that’s what I need to make the change”.

Maybe you are still hanging in….or maybe you have slipped.  The message that I want to give today is…..just start again and do it with attitude!  Let me explain.

First of all….I am a mindfulness meditation teacher.  Starting again and practice with attitude is a key instruction.  The instruction is straight forward – Pay attention to the feeling of your breath as you inhale and exhale.  When the mind wanders, return your attention back to the feeling of the breath.  Each time your mind wanders….start again and again and again and again.  Oh yes, and the attitude, bring your attention back with kindness, generosity, and compassion for yourself.

The link between mindfulness instructions and New Year’s resolution is this.  If you want to make a change, prepare yourself to start again, as you may fall short of your expectations the first time you try.  Without warning, you may find yourself reverting to the “old way” as our behaviour is often driven by habits and automatic ways of doing things.  The power of these habits are often and easily underestimated.  So, start again, over and over, and open yourself to learn about the forces at work that keep us getting stuck.

Now for the attitudes.  When practicing mindfulness meditation, when your mind wanders, bring your attention back with kindness, generosity and compassion for yourself.  Here are 3 attitudes that will help accomplish this.

Practice non-judgement.   When you slip with a New Years Resolution, it is easy to become judgmental of yourself.  If you notice this, observe the mind’s activity and try suspending the judgment, as self criticism gets in the way of starting over. Practice patience.  In order to make a real change in your life, there is a lot of hard work and effort needed.  Be patient with yourself, and accept that making a change is a learning process and you may not get it right the first time.

Practice beginner’s mind.  A beginner’s mind is a mind that is willing to experience as if it is the first time.  Too often, we may find ourselves approaching a change thinking that we know what to expect.  An attitude of beginner’s mind helps us to see how we get stuck in our own habits and to be receptive to new possibilities.

Those New Year’s resolutions – start again and do it with attitude and you won’t have to wait for midnight January 1, 2014! What do you think?  Is it worth a try?