I asked Life Coach Casey Dixon (mindfullyadd.com and dixonlifecoaching.com) to answer a question about beginning and sustaining a mindfulness practice. Casey is an expert on simple and effective practices.
TH: What would you suggest as a good way for adults to begin a mindfulness practice that they can sustain?
CD: First, I would suggest people find one practice that they really enjoy, their “go to” practice. I have one, called Mountain Breath, that I can call up anytime and it helps me get into a mindful state immediately. I practiced it as a guided mediation so many times that now I can easily do it on my own. Variety is nice when you are into practicing mindfulness, but having one go-to practice is a great way to start that will last.
Second, I love the “When I …, then I …” approach, which means that you find a really good cue that triggers your mindful practice. One of my clients came up with, “When I see Bob walk past my desk at work, then I will take 3 intentional breaths.” This is a great cue, because Bob walks past her desk several times each day and she can rely on it. Now, when she sees Bob (although he does not know this!), then she practices mindfulness. This works really well, so she was able to expand her cue to trigger other, more involved practices.
Another client had a really hard time finding a cue. I pushed her to think of one thing that happens in her life every day. She came up with, “When I cover the bird cage at night, then I will try Tick Tock.” Tick Tock being her go-to practice. (Note: “Tick Tock” is rocking side-to-side like a pendulum).
It is also helpful to remember that you don’t have to be a mindfulness master in order to benefit. Practicing mindfulness might feel awkward and sometimes you will forget to do it, but if you have a go-to practice and a good cue, you can keep it up or return to it when you are ready.
For more information on other accessible mindfulness practices, check out mindfullyadd.com