If you’re struggling to make mindfulness a daily habit, you’re not alone.
Despite our best intentions, it’s so easy to fall off the wagon & let our practice slide. Which is weird, right, because we know it works! We felt that increased sense of calm & ease during our 7-day kickstart back in August, so why is it so hard to stick with it? How do we fundamentally ingrain this simple practice into our daily lives?
The key is connecting with the right motivation.
Simply put, if it feels like a chore, it ain’t gonna happen. So instead of motivating yourself with a stick – with “shoulds” & “musts” & “have to’s” – connect with your heart’s deepest desires for the parent & person you want to be. These, my friend, are your carrots.
Because we don’t practice mindfulness to be “mindful”, right?
We’re not learning these skills to tick a box or adhere to some abstract notion of what “being a good mother” looks like. Personally, I practice so that I can respond rather than react when parenting sh!t hits the fan. So that even during the fiercest emotional storm, I can act in a way that nourishes me & those I love. For me, mindfulness is the ultimate form of self-care (& not remotely chore-like).
So I practice. Even if some days it’s only a minute here & there.
I practice noticing my thoughts, emotions & bodily sensations, returning to focus on my present moment experience whenever my mind wanders. Because in tumultuous times, it’s only when I unhook from the stories in my head & observe my experience with openness & acceptance that I make choices that feel GOOD. It’s only from the here & now that I can choose softness over shouting, calm over worry & self-compassion over self-doubt. How about them carrots ;-)
So my friend, take a moment now to connect with your heart’s deepest desires for the parent & person you want to be, & let’s do this!
This week’s microholiday: Relax yo’ face
More often than not, our faces reflect what’s going on in our mind. So try checking in on your face as you go about your day. Then, when you notice a lost-in-thought frown or a clenched-in-frustration jaw…
1. Gift yourself a deliciously full breath.
2. Take note of the thoughts that took you away from here & now & let them float on by like leaves down a stream.
3. Let every muscle in your face melt – your forehead, your eyebrows, your mouth, your tongue, your jaw – as you come out of the busyness in your head & into the present moment.
4. Focus on your breath and the sensations of your relaxed face for as long as you fancy.
Extension (once or twice a day)
Set your timer for 2-5 minutes and count each breath – in 1, out 1, in 2, out 2, etc. until 10 and then begin again at 1. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your relaxed face and the sensation of breathing. Don’t try to change your breathing, but notice it slow and deepen on its own as your nervous system returns to “rest & digest” mode.
Fancy a daily reminder to keep you on track?
Here’s my sneaky new way to make mindfulness happen. Save the image above to your phone and set it as your lock screen image (you may need to move and scale the image to fit your screen) & use it as a prompt to “relax yo’ face” & take a quick microholiday – even if it’s just one breath! – whenever you pick up your phone.
Go ahead & do that now, then let me know in the comments whether you find it useful for making mindfulness a habit :-)
Join my mailing list (via the “From Chaos to Calm” sign up form below) to receive a new microholiday screensaver each week.