5 Easy Tips to Begin a Mindfulness Practice

By Vitina | Comments: 0 | February 27, 2017

Have you ever “misplaced” your keys? Got down the street and wondered “did I close the garage door?”… “Turn off the oven?”… “Turn off my straightener?”

When you live in routine you start living in autopilot. It’s in this state that you become forgetful. It’s not because you have a bad memory. It’s simply because you are not being present and paying attention. Your body is busy doing something and your mind is off somewhere else.

I attended a Meditation & Mindfulness Retreat at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Their 20th retreat in the last 5 years! The retreat was co-hosted by Tracey Delfs who has been studying with World-renowned Zen and Mindfulness Master Thich Nhat Hanh for the last 15 years. 

First off, I could not have picked a dreamier place to participate in a retreat. The pictures do not do this sanctuary justice. You can really feel the magic when you pull up to the hotel. And secondly, we learned so many useful tools from Tracey this weekend to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives. You can tell that her teachings come from a place of pure passion. It really brought me back to the basics (that doesn’t necessarily mean easy). A great reminder why I do what I do. I wanted to share these small but powerful gems of wisdom with you, especially if you haven’t started incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine.

Tracey’s Tips for Mindfulness:

1. Know What Mindfulness Means

If you don’t know what mindfulness means, ask yourself what it is NOT.

It’s not chaos. It’s not reactive. It’s not rushing. What else?

Mindfulness IS being present. Awareness on the present moment. Acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Now the real trick to feeling all of these things is not having attachment or judgement to what ever you are experiencing.

2. Not Missing Out on Life

Do you tend to live life in the past or in the future? Or do you live happily ever after in the present moment? You are beautifully human and I can take a wild guess that sometimes you time travel.

Do you find yourself saying things like “I’ll be happy when I __________”? If you say this quite frequently, you live more in the future. Thinking happiness is only achievable when you’ve attained something. I’m sure that this can cause you a little bit of anxiety. I’ve been here. I get it.

Or do you say things like “I should have done ________”? With this self talk, you are living in the past. A little tough love for you, but you can’t change the past my friend.

Reality check… In both of these mindsets, you are missing out on your journey that is right in front of you! Find pleasure in the simple things, even if you generally do the same thing every day. This was a HUGE realization for me. Are you enjoying your journey? If you are not happy it may be time for a change of perspective or potentially make a few life changes.

3. Focus on the Senses

This is a great technique for presencing yourself. When you’re brushing your teeth, eating, going for a walk in nature. These are all perfect times to ask:

What do I see?
What do I feel?
What do I smell?
What do I taste?
What do I hear?

Focusing on what is happening around you will bring you straight back to the present moment.

4. Awareness Around Technology

Do you ever feel like you are addicted to texting, emails, checking all your social outlets (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc)? The culprit is dopamine. Instead of dopamine causing you to experience pleasure, the latest research shows that dopamine causes seeking behaviour.

Did you know it takes 23 minutes to refocus after 1 interruption? I don’t know about you, but I have emails, texts, phone calls, Facebook messages, Instagram messages and Snaps coming in constantly. I’ve literally set myself up for concentration failure. If I answered every one of these right away, I would not be getting much done throughout the day.

There’s no doubt that you’ve looked over to the table beside you and everyone is on their phone (or maybe you are this person). Totally missing out on great conversation and being present with the people around them.

Mindful Hack: Schedule a few times in your day to allow yourself to check your phone. This way you can slot yourself hours of time to get work done uninterrupted. I can guarantee that you will get a lot more done in a shorter period of time.

5. Creating a Meditation Habit

I know what you are already thinking… “I don’t have time for that,”. Well my love, I am going to tell you that you do! All I’m asking for is 1 minute. 1 minute a day and you still have 1439 all to yourself. Deal?

STEP 1: Know WHY you are meditating. Is it to connect to yourself? Ground yourself? Calm your mind? Manage your emotions better? Pick something and use this as your motivator.

STEP 2: Find one time a day and add it to something you are already doing. Maybe first thing when you wake up or after you brush your teeth or in the car when getting home from work (turn off car please!).

I promise that 1 minute a day is better than meditating for 30 minutes once a week. You will reap the benefits of this simple yet powerful daily habit.

And hey! Be playful with it. The Dalhi Lama says so.

You don’t go to the gym and get a 6 pack after 1 session. Same goes for mindfulness. Like any muscle, this can be trained.

Fairmont Lake Louise has on-going retreats throughout the year. You can check out the schedule here.

I’m here to help you along the journey. You just say the word.

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