Happiness and meditation are two powerful tools for self-esteem and self-confidence. But sometimes, it’s hard to find simple mindful basics.
The whole mindfulness thing can seem a little … confusing, at best. One of the reasons for this is because mindful awareness isn’t something you do, it’s something you learn to be.
It’s really a skill-set full of actions that look like nothing is happening.
If you’re a bullet-point person, here you go.
- Notice what you’re noticing.
- Don’t judge anything you think or feel.
If you want a few more specifics, keep on reading.
Is Mindfulness the Same as Mindful Awareness?
Mindfulness, mindful awareness, a mindful meditation practice — all the same thing.
It isn’t the same thing as being in the moment. Being in the moment is the beginning of mindful awareness.
One of the great mindfulness teachers in the US is Joseph Goldstein. During a talk in Santa Fe, he used the example of dogs to help us understand mindfulness.
Dogs are very much in the moment. Your dog is right there with you, unless he spots something fun to chase. And then, he’s right there in that moment, the moment of chase.
What he isn’t doing is thinking about being there with you, or aware of chasing that butterfly. Your dog is very much present in each moment. But she isn’t aware that she’s present. She’s not thinking about it.
Mindful Awareness and Chasing Butterflies
Humans can do something — chase a butterfly — and be self-aware at the same time. This is mindful awareness.
Mindfulness is “a nuanced state of mind” that allows you to watch yourself think or feel about something.
Further, the nuanced state of mind allows you to understand that not every thought is important, or even about anything real.
It’s that part about watching yourself — the self observation — that creates the nuanced state of mind called mindful awareness.
You’re paying attention, and aware that you’re paying attention. You’re chasing a butterfly, and noticing everything that’s going on as you do it.
As Goldstein put it, “Mindfulness isn’t a hobby; it’s a way of living.”
How to Begin Practicing Simple Mindfulness
1. Slow (way) down.
Usually easiest to do by sitting down in a quiet place and finding your breath. When your attention moves away from the breath (which it will do all the time, no worries), just bring it back to your breathing.
It’s a lot easier to learn to be mindful while chasing your breath, as you sit in a quiet place, rather than trying to learn how to do it while outside chasing butterflies, paying attention to as much as possible every nano-second.
That’s why you see photos of people sitting very still, no distractions, just breathing in and out.
It looks like nothing. It feels like everything.
2. Pretty soon you’ll be able to tolerate sitting quietly, bringing your mind back to breathing in and out. All the time, no matter what, you’ll be thinking about other things, feeling stuff, wondering about this or that or the other thing. That’s OK. That’s normal, for everyone.
The magic begins to happen when you can see the thoughts and feelings coming into your mind, and watch them move on out. Like leaves floating past you in a stream. Or clouds in the sky.
Thoughts come in, they pass on by, they’re gone. Breathe. Feel the breath. Another thought comes in, passes on by, then it’s gone.
Now you’re really cultivating some mindful awareness. You’re aware of the thought. And aware of your breathing around that thought.
You begin to feel the rhythm of thinking as no more important than a leaf floating in a stream.
That leaf does not have the power to take you down. It’s just a leaf.
It’s just a thought.
3. You’re going to want to start calling yourself a lot of horrible names. Or you’ll begin to hear all the awful things you say to yourself, all the time, all day long. It may freak you out.
Doesn’t have to, though. Use your ability to notice, to pay attention — even to the ways you bad-mouth yourself. Especially to those, please.
Non-judgmental open awareness. Now you’re cookin’ in a mindful sort-of way.
Where Should You Practice Simple Mindfulness?
Why Practice Mindfulness?
Because it’s your life, my dear.
When Should You Practice Mindfulness?
Whenever you can remember to come home, back into your physical body.
Daily is good. If that freaks you out, do it when you want to.
Morning is good. It sets up a fantastic vibe for your day, and everyone you meet.
Mid-day break is good.
Afternoon is good.
Work days are good.
Weekends are good.
10 minutes is good. 20 minutes is really good. 30 minutes? You’re climbing Mt. Everest.
Mindfulness is a practice, a discipline, a play of remembering. Remembering who we are. What we want. How we want to feel. Remember it as you cook dinner, or order take-out.
Remember as you’re walking down the street, or driving up the interstate.
What do you want? How do you want to feel? Right here, right now.
The Santa Fe Therapist Approach to Mindfulness
I’m Melanie, and if you’re struggling to know who you are or what you want, I can help you. Powerful things begin happening when you understand how to overcome fears and insecurities, and start focusing on strengths, talents, and inner resources.
Mindfulness can help you begin healing the past, find peace in the present, and begin building your future.
You’ll start believing in yourself, and learn how to stand up for yourself. And can I just tell you? That’s a total life-game changer.
We’ll figure out what’s going on, and what you need to begin developing solid, healthy self-esteem. One of the most powerful ways to do that is to understand how your emotions, thoughts and behaviors are intertwined.
When you learn how to make friends with your feelings, manage your thoughts, and explore new behaviors in a safe setting, your life will begin changing for the better.
Balance the Science of Therapy with the Art of Healing
In balancing the science of therapy with the art of healing, I’ll create an innovative program for you that sets you on a path of success from the very first session.
My compassionate, creative approach weaves together my ability to hear below the surface of the words, advanced degrees, years of specialized training, professional experience, and my own work to heal suffocating, self-sabotaging low self-esteem.
I use all the latest neuroscience findings as I combine Western systems, Eastern wisdom, Earth-based practices, as well as creative, innovative ideas to get you where you want to go.
Clients usually work with me once a week 8 to 12 months. As we work together, you’ll be getting tools for long-term success, and learning and using strategies and techniques that will serve you for many years.
Please know that I welcome ongoing conversations about making therapy the best experience it can be for you.
The Santa Fe Therapist Offers Online Counseling in Santa Fe, NM
Online therapy helps women who are struggling with low self-esteem and self-doubt find the time away from day-to-day pressures to calm their nervous systems. It also makes it easy and convenient to process emotions and learn new neuroscience techniques cope with challenges, heal the past, and begin building your future.
I strongly believe in the power of online counseling. Along with the research that proves its effectiveness, I see the positive benefits for clients every week. Click here if you’ve got questions about online therapy.
Free 15-Minute Consultation With the Santa Fe Therapist
If you’re ready to begin reaching your full potential, please don’t wait any longer. All you have to do is send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ll schedule a free 15-minute phone consult. Let yourself feel into the possibilities waiting for you on the other side of the fear; it’s a pretty wonderful thing to give yourself.
Go ahead, send me an email, and let’s talk: email@example.com.
Other Services From The Santa Fe Therapist
The Santa Fe Therapist specializes in several areas of health, wellbeing, healing and recovery. We know that one size never fits all. Our services are individualized to each client, and are based on your values, your needs and desires, and your goals.
We offer individual adult counseling and guidance in Santa Fe NM for: