Why You Don't Have a Mindfulness Practice (and how to get one)

Mindfulness. 

You probably know what it is.  You probably know it’s important or have an idea of how it can help.  You may even know how important mindfulness is in building our attention in our distracted world (both in general and with ADHD).  And even though you know all of this, you don’t have a mindfulness practice even if you want one. 

 

If this is you, the problem isn’t knowledge or the idea of how much mindfulness can help. 

The problem is that you don’t value yourself enough to put yourself first.

 

You may be thinking “No, it’s that I really don’t have time”. 

Let me ask you something.  Why don’t you have time?  What do you spend your time doing?

 

Try this: 

  • Grab a piece of paper  
  • Separate it into two columns by drawing a line down the middle
  • In column one, list all of things that you do for others, because someone (or society) told you that you need to, or you feel like you have to
  • In column two, list all of the things you do for yourself or do because you want to 

 

What do you notice? 

Which list is longer?

Why is this list longer?

What has led you to believe this list should be longer?

Who told you or gave you impression that list needed to be longer?

If you were to set (and maintain) boundaries, delegate (both at home and work), and focus on what really matters to you, would your lists look different?

Do you want your lists to look different?

If not, you are right.  You don’t have time for mindfulness because you aren’t willing to make it since it isn't a priority for you (which is okay - you get to identify your priorities).  And if mindfulness and the benefits it comes with aren’t a priority or something you need then of course you don't want to make time for it (and you can probably stop reading this one).  :) 

But what if you do want to be able to focus better?

What if you want to improve your relationships by attending to people in the moment and really being present with them? 

What if you want to use your time more productively?

What if you want to make less thoughtless mistakes (which would save time)?

What if you want to feel calmer and more connected to the present moment?

In that case my suggestion is that you find a way to prioritize mindfulness.

 

“Oh, but the thoughts…” 

I hear you.  Everyone - seriously EVERYONE is worried about their thoughts in mindfulness practices and “quieting the mind”.

But here’s the thing.  You can’t quiet the mind even if you tried.  It is always thinking.  That’s its job.

All you can do is pay attention to what you are focusing on and practice being mindful of where your focus is going.

 

Try it with the breath. 

Set a time for one minute.  Set an intention to focus on your breath.  Every time you notice (are mindful that) your focus has drifted to your thoughts or something outside of yourself, notice that and bring your focus back to your breath.  Keep doing this over and over until the timer goes off.

 

Seriously.  That’s it.  That is all mindfulness is.  Choosing to focus on one thing, mindfully noticing when your focus has shifted to something else, and bringing it back repeatedly.

 

It works because, like building a muscle, the repetition teaches your brain to pay attention to wherever you are choosing to place your focus.

Recent research shared by Dr. Amishi Jha suggests you can change your brain to focus better by practicing just 12 minutes of mindfulness a day, though I suggest you start with one minute a day and build up slowly.  For more on this and on Finding Focus and Owning Your Attention check out Brene Brown’s podcast interview of Dr. Amishi Jha. 

So how might you make that happen?  What do you need to de-prioritize to make space for just one minute of mindfulness starting tomorrow?  Develop a plan for doing this as well as how you will increase it up to 12 minutes.

Feel free to share with me how it goes at [email protected]

Close

Learn how to live calmly, freely, and more fully.

Join me to receive weekly tips, practices, and more.