A lot of times, when people teach about mindfulness, it’s this abstract thing – just clear your mind, pay attention, be calm.
It’s oftentimes people telling us to be grateful, to sit quietly and observe, take note of how we’re feeling.
That’s not always possible, though.
We can’t always sit quietly. Our kids might be running, playing loudly in the house. We might be out at work or running errands when our anxiety hits.
It’s not always possible to “just be calm” or “just calm your mind” or “just pay attention.” When we’re in the throes of our anxiety, telling ourselves to be calm can just exacerbate things more.
So, what is mindfulness, for us, then?
Overall, mindfulness is taking the time to be aware of ourselves, our surroundings, and our feelings. But it is possible to be mindful, even when we’re not following the current mindfulness “best practices.”
For me, mindfulness is about allowing myself to safely feel every emotion that comes up for me, even if I can’t sit quietly to “ponder” on it right that second. It’s allowing myself to feel that emotion, take note as best as I can in the moment, and then trying to sift through and process everything after the kids go to bed.
By no means am I an expert at mindfulness. I’m still working on acknowledging all my emotions, processing them, and regulating them. It’s a work in progress.
Do I always take the time to be grateful, every day? I try to. But I’m not perfect at it.
Do I spend an hour journaling my thoughts and feelings each night? Nope. I jot down a few sentences in my tarot journal the next morning when I pull my cards (which is the most consistent I’ve been in years).
If you practice daily gratitude and journal thoroughly for your mindfulness practice, that is amazing. Keep doing that! But I know firsthand that doesn’t always work for everyone. It doesn’t for me.
So, take the time to explore what mindfulness means for you. There’s no one size fits all. Mindfulness is unique for each of us.