My First Vlog: Mindfulness Research

Another way to practice mindfulness: Retreats

Over the past few weeks I’ve been giving a lot of different ways that you can incorporate mindfulness into your life.  Some of you may be doing fine with these ideas.  But what if you’re looking for something more?  What if you’re looking to take the next step in your mindfulness journey?

One of the best ways to deepen your mindfulness practice is to go on a retreat.  Not only do these retreats allow us to meet people who enjoy mindfulness as much as we do, but they also allow you to learn firsthand from some of the leading mindfulness teachers.  Another bonus is that these retreats can last anywhere from a couple hours to a couple days.  This essentially allows you to have a long term exposure to mindfulness, which can really deepen your practice.

I found an organization that offers all sorts of mindfulness retreats.  It’s called Spirit Rock, and it is classified as an insight meditation center.  It is located about 45 minutes away from San Francisco.  While this may be a long trip for some of us (myself included).  Think of it as a vacation that will benefit you as well as relax you.

The next upcoming mindfulness retreat from this organization is titled: Well-Nourished: Mindful Practices for Heart, Mind and Body.  This event will be held on Sunday July 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The description states that the program includes meditation, walking, and yoga.  The main theme revolves around eating and how being mindful of your eating can benefit both your mind and body.  The best part about this retreat is that young adults (ages 18-26) only have to pay $45 for this retreat which is a great deal!  Registration is still open so be sure to check it out!

Another event from Spirit Rock is called: Opening the heart, freeing the mind.  This event is on July 14 and is also from 9:30-4:30.  This retreat is centered around love and compassion for one another.  There will be a variety of sitting and walking meditations all geared toward compassion.  This seems very appropriate considering compassion is a very big topic in many different meditations.  This retreat also offers the young adult discount which is super helpful.  This event still has open registration, but I also feel like I should mention that you can register at the door.  However, it costs $5 more to do so, therefore I would recommend that you register online as soon as possible.

I found another retreat that could be particularly interesting if you’re a writer like me.  It’s called: Writing as a path to awakening.  This retreat is a little different than the others because it’s five days long.  However, the website does offer a link with more information on various hotels where you can stay during the retreat.  Unfortunately this retreat is also a bit more expensive.  But there is still a young adult discount available, however it only brings the price down to $225.  Although this price isn’t horrible when you consider that this retreat is five days long.  The meditations all revolve around writing and they offer different writing sessions with various prompts to really help you practice your craft.  They will also have educational sessions where they will discuss the writings of some of the pioneers of mindfulness.  This is definitely a retreat worth looking into if you enjoy writing.

The other retreat I found that seems particularly useful was the introduction to insight meditation.  This one will be on July 22 from 9:30 to 4:00.  It seems very useful because it’s all about being able to channel a state of calm and peace even in the most stressful situations, which is something that I think all of us could use!  There will be a variety of walking and sitting meditations, so there will be something for everyone.  This is another retreat that has a young adult discount and for those young adults it will only cost $45.

These are only a few of the meditations that are available, so be sure to check out their website to see the full list of retreats and other resources that are available.  I hope one of these retreats has piqued your interests!

Do you have a desire to go on a retreat like this? Let me know in the comments! (Seriously let me know I’d love to go to one of these with someone).

Remember: Everyone starts out as a beginner, if they can do it then so can you.


Mindful Musings

A mental health journey through mindfulness

Mindfulness? Medication? What treatment do you choose?

Disclaimer: I’m not a licensed medical professional in any way, shape or form.  I’m just sharing my opinions and experiences in hopes that it will help someone else.

Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, or addiction, the question is always: What kind of treatment to I want to use? This can be a hard question for many people to answer. I know from personal experience.

When I first began dealing with my anxiety and panic attacks, I didn’t seek any form of treatment for months.  It was miserable.  To be honest, for most of that time I wasn’t even aware that I needed treatment.  I didn’t know why I was feeling the way I was feeling.  The first step for me was actually coming to terms with the fact that I was dealing with anxiety and panic disorder (both of which run in my family so therefore it only made sense).  It was hard for me to come to this realization, and scary to think about where to go from there.

I was originally so afraid to take medication.  I was so scared of how it might affect me.  Eventually I decided to take the advice of my doctor and go on antidepressants.  However I didn’t give up on the solution of therapy.  It was in therapy where I discovered the benefits of mindfulness in regards to my anxiety and panic.

I think it’s important to note that neither of these treatments worked right away.  It took time to see results from both solutions.  The medication took awhile to kick in.  And getting into mindfulness was truly a journey.

When I started doing mindfulness meditation I was very skeptical and found it very hard to concentrate.  Of course now I know that’s completely normal, but it was very discouraging.  Eventually through lots of trial and error, I was able to figure out what kinds of meditations worked for me.

For example, if you remember one of my earlier stories I mentioned how I wasn’t a huge fan of the eating meditation.  But I gave it a try and learned I wasn’t a fan.  Along the way I found countless other meditations that I did like though.

This is how you should approach any sort of treatment you may be looking into.  Be open to trying anything at least once.  But more importantly, seek the advice of a medical professional.  That could be either a medical doctor or a psychiatrist.  I suggest going to as many different specialists as you want.  It’s great to get a second (or third) opinion from someone.

However you should also remember that, when everything is said and done, how you treat any sort of ailment you are dealing with is your decision.  Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing anything you aren’t comfortable with.  Honestly that can create more problems than it’s worth.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are benefits and drawbacks to any sort of treatment.  That’s the nature of modern medicine.  It’s up to you to weigh the risks and benefits for your personal situation.  Your solution may not be the same as someone else you know and that’s perfectly okay.  There isn’t a right or wrong answer, which honestly I think is pretty great.

I hope this article has lifted the stigma when it comes to the treatment of mental illness.  And if you’re someone who is considering seeking treatment, I hope this article has inspired you to reach out to someone.  Personally, I also hope that I’ve inspired someone to at least consider trying to add mindfulness to their life and begin their journey.

Remember: Everyone starts out as a beginner.  If they can do it, then so can you.


Mindful Musings

A mental health journey through mindfulness.

How to use mindfulness when you’re wishing the days away

Sometimes you just have those days where nothing seems to go your way.  Or you just don’t like where you’re at in life right now. We’ve all felt like this at one time or another.  The mistake we make is wishing we were at some other point in time.  Sometimes we wish we were younger, while sometimes we wish we could just skip over a certain part of our lives.

There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing about your childhood.  However, I know there have been times where I wish I could go back to my childhood.  I didn’t appreciate how simple life was.  I also have my moments where I wish I could fast forward to a different point in my life.  This is usually at a point where everything seems up in the air.  For example, right now I have no idea where I’m going to be a year from now and it’s extremely frustrating.  I wish I could fast forward to that time so I could just have it all figured out.

There’s a problem with this way of thinking.  We are either dreaming about the past or wishing our lives away, neither of which brings a good result.  What can we do about feeling this way?

Well if you know anything about this blog, you know I’m going to say that mindfulness can be extremely helpful with this.  Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment.  You are supposed to focus on how you are feeling in the moment.  This not only alleviates worry but can also help you become content in your present situation.

Back to my situation, rather than longing for my childhood or wishing away my senior year of college, I need to just live in the moment.  I need to accept the fact that I’ve done all I can so far in regards to planning my future.  I need to enjoy where I am in life right now, because I’m never going to be at this exact point in my life ever again.

There’s always going to be something that we long to get to in life, it’s only human nature.  But if we keep wishing life away, we’re going to get older and realize that it’s almost over and we didn’t enjoy any of it.  What’s the sense in that?

Here’s a few ways you can incorporate mindfulness during moments like these.

Appreciate Nature

The world is changing all around us every day.  Take a moment to appreciate it and notice the little things.  Take in the vast sky and the beautiful plants nearby.  Enjoy the smell after rain or when the lawn is mowed.  Sometimes when we take time to enjoy these things, it can really give us an appreciation for the present moment.

Get active

Be in the moment and get moving.  Runners high is a real thing, and believe it or not, you can experience it too!  Dance, do aerobics, hula hoop, play your favorite sport, even if it’s just walking get moving! Breathe through the hard work and feel good about the fact that you’re doing something right now to better your life.

Spend time with family and friends

I hate to be blunt about this, but we all have a limited amount of time on this Earth.  Spend time with the ones you care about and really actually spend time with them.  Don’t be on your phone or just mindlessly watch tv.  Sit down and have a conversation or do something else together.  Whatever it is, be in that moment and spend time with them.  Later in life you will thank yourself.


When in doubt, I always find meditation to be a good way to gain some appreciation for the present!  There are many different kinds of meditations that are suitable for this.  One could be a gratitude meditation.  It allows you to be thankful for what you have in your life right now, and it can really put you in a better mood if you’re feeling down about your current state.

It’s human nature to wish time away, but being mindful can really make life worthwhile!  I hope I’ve inspired you to be more mindful in your day to day life.

Remember: Everyone starts out as a beginner, if they can do it then so can you!


Mindful Musings

A mental health journey through mindfulness

Mindfulness can be used to treat internet addiction

Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a college student or young adult who doesn’t spend a good portion of their time on the internet.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Some of us have to use it a lot for work or school, and that’s okay.  However, there comes a point when it becomes a problem.

There comes a point where your internet use starts to interfere with your daily life and interactions with other people.  This is what is clinically referred to as internet addiction disorder.  While most of us might not quite qualify for internet addiction disorder, many of us can probably say that we are on the internet a lot more often than we’d like to admit.  So that brings on the question: What should we do to remedy this?

I am happy to report that mindfulness can be part of the solution.  As I’ve discussed before, a key part of mindfulness is being able to focus your attention on your actions in the present moment.  This typically helps you to prevent worrying about the past or the future.  This awareness can help you make many different kinds of mindful choices.  This includes knowing when you should spend time on the internet.

My advice would be to take a moment before you turn on the computer or unlock your phone.  Ask yourself: Do I really need to be on the internet right now?  Why do I want to be on the internet? Is there something more valuable that I could be doing with my time?  Will I be missing out on something important?  If you can answer all of these questions and still feel that going on the internet is justified, then go for it! Otherwise there are a few things to consider.

Continue to be mindful and ask yourself: Is there someone I could be spending my time with? Is there work that needs to be done?  Could I be putting time towards any of my hobbies?  Is there a book I could read?  I’ve found that staying away from technology for a period of time can be a really powerful experience.  You’d be surprised at how productive you can be without technology.

To prove this I had to do an assignment for one of my classes.  We had to log our media usage for three consecutive days and analyze the results.  It blew my mind how much time I spent on my computer and my phone.  Granted a lot of the time on the computer I was doing school work, but it was still an excessive amount.  And if it wasn’t because of schoolwork, then I was using it while doing something else.  Now if you’ve been reading any of my other posts, you know that multitasking is a disaster in the making.  Bottom line: no one can truly multitask.  So if you’re surfing the internet while watching tv for example, you’re never truly paying close attention to both.  It’s best to decide whether you should be on the internet, or if you’d rather focus on the other activity.  Personally I find that focusing on the other activity is usually better.  I notice that my mind doesn’t race as much when I’m not scrolling through Facebook while trying to do something else.  Being in the moment really does make a difference.

Another thing I noticed while doing this assignment is that when I was forcing myself to be aware of when I was on the internet, I tended to get on it a lot less.  It was as if I felt guilty for doing it since I was aware it would mean I was falling into old habits.  I would highly recommend keeping track of how often you get on the internet everyday.  You might be surprised at how much you do, and it could be a good motivator to change your habits.

Internet addiction is becoming an increasingly bigger problem in today’s society.  However, by implementing mindfulness practices into your daily life, you can start to notice a change in your habits.  Of course, keeping track on a log of some sort is also extremely helpful.

Have you ever tried keeping track of your media usage? Do you think you spend too much time on the internet?  Let me know in the comments!

Remember: Everyone starts out as a beginner.  If they can do it, then so can you.


Mindful Musings

A mental health journey through mindfulness

Google has a mindfulness class for it’s employees. Here’s how it works.

I recently discussed some different ways to take mindfulness classes.  Coincidentally, I just discovered another mindfulness class that Google offers to employees.  Mental note: if you’re looking for a job consider applying to Google.  Honestly, I could go on and on about how great that place seems.  However that would be for a different blog.

As I was saying, while it’s great that this class is offered to employees, what if you’re like the rest of us who don’t work at Google?  What is this class like and how can we give it a try?

I’m going to tell you more about how this class came to be, and where you can find more information on it.  I’m also going to give you some suggestions on how to replicate the class using the same basic techniques.

The class is called, “Search inside yourself,” and it’s the most popular mindfulness class at Google according to Business Insider.  The class was created by Chade Meng-Tan.  He works at Google, and he says he want to help his colleagues, “find the key to happiness” through mindfulness.

The course is divided into sections: attention training, self-knowledge, and creating mental habits.  Attention training involves being aware of what’s going on around you and being able to choose and have control over what you focus on.  Self-knowledge is about understanding how you’re feeling, without judgement and letting things be as they are.  Creating mental habits can be anything from self compassion to emotional awareness, or even something like being slow to anger in stressful situations.  Mindfulness, and specifically this course, can help with all of these things.

Another great thing to note is that as an employee at Google you can take this class in two days or you can spread it out over the course of a few weeks.  Again, all the more reason to work at Google.

What I really like about this course is that Meng stated that he made the course specifically for the people who would think that it’s, “hippie bullsh*t.”  Again, his words not mine folks, but it really hit home for me because eventually I hope that through this blog I will reach the same type of people.  I hope to reach the people who are skeptical of mindfulness or don’t think it’s for them.  So I’d say if you like what I’ve been writing about these past few weeks it would probably be in your best interest to find a course like this.

Now for those of us who are not lucky enough to work at Google, how do we learn more about this course?  Well fortunately for us, Meng published a book based on this course.  The book is titled “Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace).”  This is about as close as we can get to actually taking the course.

I decided, to provide you with another option, that I would outline a couple different techniques that fall under the structure of Meng’s course.  The easiest way to replicate attention training would be through a breathing meditation.  This would allow you to train your focus by getting yourself to focus more on your breath rather than the other distractions going on around you.  A great way to mimic the self-knowledge portion of the course would be to do a body scan meditation.  With these meditations, you are to focus on each part of your body for a few minutes at a time.  During this time you can notice how your body is feeling while trying not to judge whatever is going on.  In other words, just let things be as they are.  This is a concept very similar to attention training.  Finally, there are a variety of meditations that can be used for mental habits.  A great compassion meditation is very common.  Personally right now I’m working on a meditation series titled dealing with the inner critic, which would also be an example of this.  These types of meditations reinforce positive behaviors that you hope to have in your life.  This means that eventually as you go about your day you might start to notice yourself having a changed mindset.  This is exactly what Meng’s course is designed to do.

Well I hope I’ve inspired you to apply to Google (Just kidding, kind of).  Really I hope I’ve inspired you to look into Meng’s work and try out some of these mindfulness techniques.

Are you one of the lucky souls that work at Google? Have you tried this class or any of these types of meditations?  Let me know in the comments!

Remember: Everyone starts out as a beginner, if they can do it then so can you.


Mindful Musings

A mental health journey through mindfulness

How and where to take mindfulness classes

Learning mindfulness on your own is great.  It can be a very rewarding skill to learn.  However, for some people learning independently can be difficult.  You might ask yourself, “What’s another option?”

Well classes are certainly a great options for those who aren’t such independent learners.  But you still might have some questions.  How do I find a class near me?  What if I can’t find a class? What should I expect from these classes?

I’m going to do my best to lay out what options you have when it comes to taking classes and explain the benefits of each option.

Well, first off I have good news!  I’ve found the most convenient way to take a mindfulness class:  Online mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) classes!

The course is officially called: the Palouse Mindfulness Online MBSR Course.  These classes are structured by a certified instructor, and the classes are modeled off the teachings of Jon Kabat-Zinn, aka: the father of MBSR.  The best part?  They’re COMPLETELY FREE!  Yes, I promise that’s not a typo.  If you’re a student like me, or maybe you’re just tight on cash, you know that can be a huge deal when it comes to a class like this.

The entire class is laid out for you on the website.  First it gives a thorough introduction to mindfulness, with some videos to watch just to help you get your feet wet.  There is also a manual that you can print out which will have all the reference materials as well as the practice logs.  These practice logs are required for certification, so I’d suggest you fill them out.  These practice logs can really be a motivator for people who have a hard time sticking to practicing mindfulness daily.

Once you get through the introduction, the course is divided into eight weeks.  Each week features a new meditation to practice.  This structure reminds me a lot of the Koru mindfulness class I took in college, so the structure seems pretty standard.  The class features a variety of meditations.  Some of the weeks even feature yoga exercises.  It seems like they something in it for everyone.

At the end of the class you can request a certificate of completion.  All you have to do is send in your contact information, a description of what you learned in the class, and copies of all your practice logs from the course.  See I told you they’re important.

Now this is all fine and good, but what if you’re the type of person like me who only takes online classes when they feel that it’s absolutely necessary?  In other words you really don’t like online classes that much and want to know if there’s another option.

Fortunately for you there is.  There are plenty of in-person classes to take all across the country!  If you’re a college student like me I would highly suggest looking into any classes offered at our university.  I know that Koru is a common one and that’s the first class I ever took.  These classes usually work around most schedules and are only once a week, so it’s not a huge class time commitment.  I would recommend going to your college’s website and looking under their health center or counseling center’s page and see if there are any class offerings.  If there aren’t any then try to write to your university requesting one.  You never know they might just consider you request.

Another option if you’re not a college student or your school doesn’t offer any classes, is to go look for local classes offered in the community.  The best way to do this is to put in a google search of “MBSR courses near me.”  I’ve also found it’s helpful to go to the University of Massachusetts Center for mindfulness, so that you can see if there is a certified instructor near you.  If there is it will usually direct you to their homepage where you can get more details on the class.  For example, I found a course in Pittsburgh offered at UPMC.

There are plenty of different options available if you are considering taking a mindfulness class.  Each one has it’s unique qualities to fit your lifestyle.  Be sure to consider all your options and pick the best one for you.

Have you ever taken a mindfulness class? Would you ever consider trying one of the options listed above? Let me know in the comments!

Remember: Everyone starts out as a beginner, if they can do it then so can you!


Mindful Musings

A mental health journey through mindfulness

Virtual Reality Mindfulness Exists. Here’s why you should want to know.

We’ve all heard the term virtual reality in video games, but this kind of virtual reality is a bit different.  With most virtual reality it’s about seeing a new world.  This method is actually about not seeing anything.  Regardless, why do we need to know about virtual reality mindfulness?

Maybe you’ve been in a rut in your mindfulness journey and are really looking for a way to deepen your practice?  Or maybe mindfulness meditation hasn’t quite registered with you and you are looking to take a different direction in your mindfulness journey?  Either way, virtual reality mindfulness is the way to go.

Today I will highlight the features of virtual reality mindfulness, and I will also attempt to show how and where you can begin this practice if you are interested.

This device for virtual reality mindfulness is actually called the sonic cradle.  You sit in a hammock like chair in a dark room, and listen to music that is controlled by your own breathing.  How crazy is that?  Personally I think I would have a hard time adjusting to this, because I would end up being too focused on my breath.  However this works perfectly for some people, so it really just all depends on your own preferences.

It’s certainly clear to me how the sonic cradle can help improve your mindfulness skills.  By having nothing to focus on except the music which is controlled by your breathing, you have the chance to focus and practice being mindful through the breath.  It’s like a new twist on an old favorite.

In addition to being more mindful, some people noticed other effects.  According to the writers of iSpace, “par­tic­i­pants also reported per­cep­tual illu­sions, feel­ings of float­ing, and emo­tional responses.”

This reminds me of those floating chambers.  I don’t know if any of you are familiar with those, but you float in water and are devoid of all your senses.  Many people have similar experiences in the sonic cradle as they do in these floating chambers.

Unfortunately the sonic cradle is still in its prototype stage, so most people won’t have access to it for a while.  The only exception might be if you happened to be selected for a study regarding mindfulness.  However all hope is not lost.  There are plenty of audio tracks available on youtube and Soundcloud.  These tracks are the recordings of other being using the ambient noise and breathing technologies.  While it’s not as good as being able to control it yourself, it still gives you something to focus on.  These could be especially beneficial if you like to meditate with music.  It can even just be a new way to regain focus on the breath.  These types of tracks can also be purchased on Amazon if that’s something that interests you.

According to the research papers published, it seems like they have a lot more testing to do before this concept is officially released to the public, but that’s okay.  I’d rather wait for a truly profound product than have a rushed and not well done prototype.

Jay Vidyarthi is the main brain behind this concept, and I would highly recommend checking out his website.  He has many great insights into mindfulness, and all of it seems very modern in its approach.  If you’re like me you’ll find that anything that can relate to current technology while still being good for you is a huge benefit.  There you’ll also find his teaching credentials, and any news on his musical endeavors.  He even has his own blog so be sure to check that out as well!

I hope this has enlightened you on some of the newer technologies regarding mindfulness!  While unfortunately we may not have direct access to the sonic cradle, there are still plenty of other ways we can get in on this great new discovery.

Have you ever tried anything like this or the floating chambers?  Or would you ever be interested in trying something like this? Let me know in the comments!

Remember: Everyone starts out as a beginner, if they can do so can you!


Mindful Musings

A mental health journey through mindfulness

A guide to wearable mindfulness technology

I’ve talked about apps that can be downloaded to your phone which can promote mindfulness.  These apps are great! I use plenty of them myself!  However, sometimes using our phones too much can get in the way of being mindful.  What do we do if we want to practice mindfulness and use our phones less?

I’ve discovered a solution: Wearable mindfulness gear.  These gadgets serve a variety of purposes, but all allow you to be more mindful.  Many of these devices sync to your phone, but you don’t necessarily have to be using your phone to reap the benefits.  Even if it does have you use your phones, the time spent on your phone is minimal.

Now the question is, which gadget do you get?  I’ve checked out a few of the top gadgets, and I’m going to lay out some of the features and benefits of each!  I don’t actually own any of these gadgets, but a couple of them are certainly at the top of my wish list.



Spire is advertised as a breath and activity tracker, and the combination of these two things really allow you to be mindful.  The device can be conveniently hooked either on your bra or on your waist.  The sensor on the device monitors the expansion and contraction in your body when you breath.  Then, according to the product’s site, this data is used to tell what state your body is in.  In it’s simplest form, they have three different classifications of breathing: Calm, Tense, and Focused.  This information will all be recorded on your phone for you to view whenever it is convenient.  The great thing about all of this data is that it is personalized.  Obviously not everyone has exactly the same resting rate of breathing, so this device takes all the guesswork out of these calculations.  The app tracks your breath. activity, steps, and calories for the day.  It is also equipped with a variety of guided meditations to use when you’re tense.  The app is also compatible with your smart watch which makes it even more convenient.


Bellabeat Leaf

The Leaf is described as a health tracker, but I think this tracker has the widest variety of uses.  Similar to the spire it can either be clipped to your clothes or worn as a bracelet or necklace.  It monitors your sleep, activity, meditation, stress levels, and your period.  So basically it is your all in one tracker.  It also has a variety of alarms and settings to help you be more mindful throughout the day.  You can also set goals for each of these categories, which can really get you motivated if you’re a beginner.  Not to mention it has a variety of designs to fit your style and needs.  Overall this device really allows you to be mindful through multiple aspects of your life.


Lumo Lift

While the Lumo lift is actually a posture coach, I’d say it can certainly help in your mindfulness journey.  The device sticks to your skin, and you calibrate it while being in the straightest posture possible.  Once it has a baseline of what your perfect posture is, then it will vibrate whenever you slouch.  Not only does this correct a bad habit that many of us are guilty of, it gives us a chance to be mindful.  Whenever it vibrates, look at it as taking a moment to be mindful.  Once you correct your posture, you can take notice of how your body is feeling in the moment and take a few mindful breaths.  Doing simple check-ins like this can really improve your day.  It also tracks your steps, so it doubles as a fitness tracker!  While this is a much more simple way to be mindful, I think that is sometimes preferred, but I’ll be discussing simplicity, minimalism, and mindfulness at a later date.  All in all, this app is a simple but great choice.


These are the three mindfulness trackers that I am most familiar with, but there are plenty more available.  Each one has different qualities, but all serve the same purpose: to help you become a more mindful and better you.


I hope one of these trackers has piqued your interest! Have you used any sort of tracker before?  What do you think of the ones I’ve talked about today? Let me know in the comments!


Remember: Everyone starts as a beginner, if they can do it so can you!


Mindful Musings

A mental health journey through mindfulness.



Minimalism and mindfulness

I’ve talked about many different approaches to understanding mindfulness.  However, maybe these ideas just haven’t resonated with you yet.  That’s perfectly okay, everyone have different preferences.  That’s what makes us unique and human.  But what if I told you that there’s another way to connect mindfulness to your everyday life?

That’s right folks, there is yet another way.  I’m talking about minimalism.  Some of you may be familiar with the term, and others not so much, but thats okay!  Today I will be breaking down what minimalism is and explaining how its practices can relate to mindfulness.  Then I will be referencing another source’s minimalist mindfulness challenge, explaining how it works and the different activities involved.

In the words of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, minimalism is, “a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”  Many of these components are similar to mindfulness.  First of all, excess distractions cause us to not focus at the task at hand.  In these circumstances we are not being mindful of our actions.  I’ve mentioned this before in reference to multitasking.  By using minimalism to weed out excess distractions, we can become more mindful.  Mindfulness is also about focus.  Focus is also mentioned in the definition of minimalism.  We could argue that by focusing on what’s important we are being mindful of our values, which is very important to our mental and spiritual well being.  The one thing I’d really like to focus on from this definition is freedom.  Minimalism really capitalizes on freedom.  When you let the unnecessary things go, whether it be possessions or habits, you allow the rest of your life to fall into place.  This can be a freeing feeling, very similar to the freeing feeling you get from meditating or living in the present moment.  I think that once you connect all of these ideas together, that’s when you find the happiness and fulfillment.

From here I’d like to discuss the minimalist mindfulness challenge and how we can seamlessly incorporate minimalism and mindfulness into our everyday lives.

The thirty day challenge was created by Anuschka Rees.  Many of these minimalism challenges directly relate to mindfulness.

One of them is staying offline for a day.  This allows you to eliminate multitasking.  Think about how many times you’re on the computer while doing something else.  Probably a lot right? By staying offline you would be able to be more focused at the task at hand.

One of the challenges is to actually meditate for fifteen minutes.  This just proves that mindfulness and minimalism go hand in hand.  Getting rid of the clutter in your mind can motivate you to get rid of the physical clutter in your life and vice versa.

One of the challenges is about identifying your priorities.  As I’ve mentioned before, when you narrow down what’s important you can more easily eliminate distractions.  This is certainly important when it comes to mindfulness.

A couple other challenges are about cleaning out various areas of your home.  Again this relates to the clutter concept.  Cleaning out the clutter in your home will allow you to be more mindful.

Practicing single tasking is also part of this challenge.  By now I’m pretty sure it goes without saying that this is a huge part of mindfulness.

There’s also a challenge to go on a mindful walk.  This can really help to clear your head, which is beneficial for both mindfulness and minimalism.

There’s even a challenge to practice gratitude.  Gratitude is an important part of mindfulness as well.  Being grateful for what you have can really put you in a better mood, and put some of your anxieties in perspective.

Leaving a whole day unplanned is another suggestion.  This could be a great way to just live in the present moment and not worry about what’s going to happen next.  I know I find this very difficult, and I’m sure many others feel the same.

These are some of the many different challenges available on the thirty day mindful minimalist challenge.  It’s a great opportunity to try and link the concepts together.  I hope this has inspired you to take a stab at both mindfulness and minimalism.

Have you ever tried minimalism? What do you think of these ideas?  Let me know in the comments!

Remember: Everyone starts out as a beginner, if they can do it then so can you.


Mindful Musings

A mental health journey through mindfulness.