Having a daily mindfulness or compassion meditation practice is a difficult thing for most people. We have so many commitments and we don’t always do habits that support us. Just think about the difficulties in sustaining exercise, diet, sleep routines etc. In teaching hundreds of people mindfulness I’ve found that people struggle to establish a daily practice habit. When I was training as a mindfulness teacher I attended a number of 8 week courses and many of my fellow participants would tell me their difficulties in practicing between classes.
So what’s the solution if we want to gain the benefits of this practice? I think short regular daily practices performed consistently through the week is more effective than longer practices done intermittently and long periods of no practice. This mirrors physical exercise. We know that increasing daily movement and reducing sedentary life is better than 3 longer gym sessions a week and sitting at desks for hours at a time. It is better to regularly use mindfulness tools to enhance our lives, than to practice for one long session and then be pulled around by our emotions and automatic habits for the rest of the day.
Practices like Dropping Anchor, the self-compassion break, noticing and naming thoughts and emotions, 10 mindful breaths, compassionate coping in the moment, savouring a cup of coffee, 3 good things, last minute mindfulness, mindful listening, 1 for me and 1 for you, are all brilliant practices. (See our YouTube channel ). If you can get three practices in (or better still get your ‘five a day’) then it can really build the emotional skills that will support your well-being.
So over next couple of weeks I will post some articles covering short 30sec-5mins practices that you can integrate into your life to start to develop mindset skills that will support your goals and habits for 2021. I will also give some behaviour change ideas that will support these changes and other habits you wish to cultivate. I have included one of my favorite short practice below, Dropping Anchor from the brilliant Russ Harris. May everyone feel safe, healthy, happy and loved in this year to come…