Starting Your Mindfulness Practice: Tips and Exercises!

Life is busy, and it can be really hard to put life on pause to practice mindfulness! We get it, so we wanted to present a few tips that might help you to incorporate moments of mindfulness in your busy life. These ideas are taken from the classic (and beautifully written) book, Peace is Every Step by the late Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hahn.

Let’s face it, when you’re eating alone, you’re probably pulling out your smartphone (if we’re going to be truly honest, maybe you’re tempted to pull out that smartphone even when you’re eating with others)! For so many of us, eating has become routine, and we need a little extra stimulation to get through the meal without it feeling like a chore.Next time you eat, try to put your phone away and see how it feels to be present with your food (or drink). As you take your first few bites, bring your attention back to the tastes, odour, and sensations of your food. Be mindful of the feeling of satiety as you swallow your food. You might be surprised how pleasant this can be!Another simple meditation you can try: As you take your first few bites, contemplate the journey that your food took prior to ending up on your plate. Try to envision how the coffee beans were grown and harvested, how a tree transformed water and sunlight into the orange slices on your plate, or honour the life and death of the animal that provided the meat for your meal. This is a great way to not only be present with your food, but to cultivate wonder and gratitude, and to help you be mindful with your connection to nature.

Mindfulness is one of those powerful and simple practices that have stood through the rigorous tests of time, spiritual tradition, and peer-reviewed science. If you’re looking for an accessible way to improve your mental health, try to invite your awareness back to the present moment! You may find dollops of peace, happiness, and clarity during your visit.

That being said, it is important to note that mindfulness practice can be emotionally difficult for some people. It is recommended for individuals who are struggling with suicidal ideation, untreated trauma, substance abuse, or psychological conditions such as psychosis, to try mindfulness under the care of a trained mental health clinician

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