redhead young woman enjoying nature flowers everyday mindfulness

Mindfulness for Beginners: Everything you Need to Know

In this post, we discuss mindfulness for beginners, what it is, why it is important, the benefits of mindfulness, and examples of mindfulness. We review mindfulness activities for adults, including meditation, mindful breathing, walking meditation, maintaining a mindfulness journal, mindfulness questions, positive intention for the day, mindfulness affirmations, everyday mindfulness and much more.

 

 

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the art of awareness and acceptance (not judging or avoiding). Awareness includes being aware of where you are, what you are doing, and how things feel.

Mindfulness is the practice of:

  • deliberately paying attention,
  • of being fully aware and in the present moment,
  • noticing the sensations in your body, and
  • experiencing everything without any judgment or interpretation (this is the acceptance piece)

There are numerous ways to practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is commonly associated with meditation, but you can also practice mindfulness through mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful workout, mindful driving, and more.

Mindfulness isn’t a new concept; it is an ancient practice.

It has roots in Buddhism, but it has developed over time to incorporate psychological techniques as well.

 

 

 

ocean and sand with mindfulness written

Which is Better Mindfulness or Multitasking?

Research reveals that mindfulness can be very beneficial to our well-being, while multitasking has been shown to actually decrease productivity.

Although you may feel more productive when you are multitasking, the reality is research shows most of us (over 97%) aren’t good at multitasking.

When we multitask, we shift our focus back and forth between tasks, and each time we do this, our brain has to refocus.

In fact, studies show multitasking can decrease productivity by up to 40%.

In addition, one study found we inflate our perceived ability to multitask, the reality being our brain lacks the cognitive building blocks to multitask efficiently.

On the other hand, studies have found many benefits to mindfulness. Some benefits include decreased levels of emotional exhaustion, depression, anxiety, stress, psychological distress, and occupational stress.

Additionally, research found an increase in personal accomplishment, self-compassion, quality of sleep, and relaxation.

Other studies suggest mindfulness practices can help people manage stress, reduce anxiety and depression, and cope better with serious illness.

 

 

Why is Mindfulness Important?

Practicing mindfulness consistently can actually change the way you feel, think, and act because it literally changes your brain.

Experts previously thought that at some point, our brain could no longer change or develop any further. However, we now know this is not true.

You can rewire your brain, which can help with some mental health symptoms and may protect against cognitive decline.

Many research studies show the positive impact of mindfulness on psychological health.

Evidence shows mindfulness can impact the brain and change the brain’s activity, including sensory processing, decision-making, and handling emotions.

Other research indicates mindfulness can increase proteins in our brain that encourage brain neuron development and survival.

Scientific research also shows that mindfulness can impact our memory, learning, and cognition.

 

 

 

 

female doctor standing in office

 

What Are The Benefits of Mindfulness

Numerous studies prove the benefits of mindfulness, including its profound effects on the wellness of the body, mind, and soul.

For example, mindfulness can help alleviate stress by improving emotion regulation, leading to a better mood and improved ability to handle stress.

 

So, what are the benefits of mindfulness? Benefits include:

 

 

 

 

black women close up of face with eyes closed practicing mindfulness for beginners

 

Mindfulness for Beginners

We all can practice everyday mindfulness.

Mindfulness means being aware of where you are and being fully present without judgment. It means you are aware of what you are doing, and you are not being overwhelmed by things going on around you.

Because of the numerous benefits of mindfulness, it is a good idea to practice it regularly.

To experience the benefits of mindfulness, you need to be persistent.

Mindfulness for beginners is not easy at first and does take some trial to see what works best for you. However, you will improve with practice.

 

Everyday Mindfulness for Beginners – Helpful Tips

  • You do not need any special equipment
  • The main ingredient to mindfulness is your attention and intentional awareness
  • Your goal is not to quiet your mind but rather to focus on the present moment
  • Mindfulness is being aware of thoughts, sensations, and sounds.
  • There are numerous ways to practice everyday mindfulness. For example, mindfulness meditation, mindful breathing, mindful walking meditation, mindful eating, mindful driving, writing in a mindfulness journal, focusing on a positive intention for the day and mindfulness affirmations.
  • Don’t try to do too much at first. Start slow and create a schedule. Then, gradually increase your time or add additional activities.
  • Be kind to yourself. Mindfulness is simple and straightforward, but it is not easy.
  • Make it important to you. Practicing mindfulness regularly is essential if you want to experience the benefits. Maintaining consistency and regular practice is one of the biggest challenges in the beginning.
  • Don’t expect to see results immediately. Be patient because it does take some time and practicing regularly to start noticing the positive effects.
  • Find mindfulness activities and a routine that works for you.

 

Examples of Mindfulness for Beginners

 8 Mindfulness Activities for Adults

The good news is that mindfulness activities for adults can be practiced anywhere, and no special purchases are required.

If you think about it, many things you do can become mindfulness activities for adults, teenagers, or children.

Below we review some common everyday mindfulness activities for adults.

These activities are also a great start to mindfulness for beginners.

 

 

senior woman sitting on grass mindful breathing

1. Mindful Breathing – Examples of Mindfulness for Beginners

Mindful breathing is a simple but powerful mindful meditation practice. It is also one of the examples of mindfulness that you can do it almost anywhere. You focus your attention on your mindful breathing.

 

Mindful breathing is a good start to mindfulness for beginners.

  • There is no specific time requirement for mindful breathing meditation. You can do a short 5-minute breathing meditation or a longer one if you would like. Some do morning and or evening meditation. Some people gradually work their way up to 30 minutes. Research suggests that mindfulness increases the more you practice.
  • Many find it helpful to initiate a mindful breathing meditation when they feel stressed.
  • Find a comfortable position. You can sit or stand. Let your hands rest comfortably, and try to keep your back upright.
  • Relax your body.
  • Feel the natural rhythm of your mindful breathing. Pay attention to how your breath feels each time you inhale and exhale.
  • Pay attention to the sensations of your breath. You may feel sensations in your nose, chest, or abdomen.
  • Feel each inhalation and each exhalation.
  • If your mind starts to wander, as most do, acknowledge your mind is wandering and gently bring your mind back to solely focus on your breathing. It is normal for our minds to wander, but when you do, redirect your focus to the sensation of your breath.
  • Some find it helpful to focus on their breath and then silently count inhalations and exhalations to help keep intrusive thoughts out of their mind.
  • When finished, appreciate yourself for practicing mindful breathing.

Mindful breathing is something you can focus your awareness and attention on if you begin to feel stressed or are having negative emotions. Mindful breathing is one of the more common mindfulness activities for adults.

 

 

 

 

Senior woman mindfulness activities for adults outside while mindful breathing for positive intention for the day

 

2. Walking Meditation – Examples of Mindfulness for Beginners

Walking meditation is one of the easier examples of mindfulness activities for adults that can be incorporated into everyday life. During walking meditation, your sole focus is on the physical experience of the walk. You are mindful during movement.

  • Find a calm, peaceful location where you can take a purposeful walk without interruption.
  • You can practice walking meditation inside or outside, at a park, in your house, or your yard.
  • You can set a specific time, but it is not necessary to do so for walking meditation.
  • Try to incorporate walking meditation any time you walk.
  • You do not have to walk in any special way and walk at whatever pace is comfortable.

Start Walking Meditation

  • When you start walking, focus on your body’s movement. Think about your foot lifting, your leg moving forward, and placing your foot back on the ground. Feel your breath upon when you inhale and exhale.
  • We normally just walk, but with walking meditation, we are focusing on the movements of your body. It might seem awkward at first, but you will get used to it after a while.
  • Walk about 10 to 15 deliberate steps and then stop and breathe. When you’re ready, turn around and do it again.
  • Focus your mind on how your muscles and body feels, the sensations, and how you move. Feel the sensation of your head on your shoulders, how your arms feel, how your legs feel while moving and how your feet feel touching the ground.
  • After walking 10 to 15 steps, pause, and breathe. When you feel ready, turn around and do it again.
  • Some simply focus on the physical sensation of walking.

Expand Attention to Other Sensations

  • As you continue walking meditation, you can expand your attention to other sensations. Pay attention to sounds, but don’t think about whether you like them or not. Just hear them. Then shift your attention to smells. Be aware of what you smell, but don’t judge it.
  • After 10 to 15 steps, pause and breathe, turn around, and continue walking when you are ready.
  • Shift your awareness to vision. The colors and what things you see. No judgments, just acknowledge what you are seeing.
  • As you come near the end of your walking meditation, bring your awareness back to the physical sensation of your body moving. Notice your legs moving, your feet touching the ground, how your arms, head, and shoulders feel.
  • When finished, appreciate yourself for practicing walking meditation.

 

 

 

 

brown journal on table

 

3. Mindfulness Journal – Examples of Mindfulness for Beginners

Writing in a mindfulness journal is one of the everyday mindfulness activities for adults that can be practiced regularly. Using a mindfulness journal is also one of the examples of mindfulness activities for adults that can be easily implemented into your routine.

Writing your thoughts in a mindfulness journal is a type of self-expression that empowers you to understand your complex feelings and enables you to safely express your honest thoughts and feelings.  And, maintaining a mindfulness journal is easy, all you need is a pen and some paper.

 

Here are some tips for having a mindfulness journal

  • Find someplace to write where you feel calm and comfortable and won’t be distracted.
  • Try to write in your mindfulness journal at the same time every day, like every morning or evening. Try to write every day.
  • Before you write in your mindfulness journal, think about what is going on in your life or what has impacted your life. Think about your thoughts and feelings.
  • Write whatever is on your mind. Don’t feel obligated to have to write about any specific person or event. Below are some examples of mindfulness questions if you need some prompting on what to write.
  • If your mind starts to wander, as many do, gently refocus on your writing. Read or think about what you have written in your mindfulness journal and continue writing.
  • You can set a time goal, for example, writing for 5 or 10 minutes, or stop when you finished writing a certain number of pages, like 2-3 pages.
  • Think about what you wrote when finished.
  • Keep it private. This mindfulness journal is for you. Only your eyes should be on it.
  • When finished, appreciate yourself for writing in your mindfulness journal.

 

Mindfulness Questions as Mindfulness Journal Prompts 

Some people like to write about things that are bothering them. Others like to have a gratitude journal and write about the things they are thankful for. If you need mindfulness journal prompts on what to write in your mindfulness journal, here are some mindfulness questions you can ask yourself.

 

Mindfulness Questions – Mindfulness Journal Prompts

  • What are some of the things I do best?
  • Are some things I don’t like doing?
  • What were the highlights of my week?
  • How do I impact people around me?
  • What core values do I want to focus on?
  • Who are my closest friends or family members?
  • Are there things that make me unhappy and why?
  • What makes me happy and why?
  • What happened in the past that at the time seemed like a failure, but now I can perceive it as a gift?
  • Are there things about me do I have difficulty accepting?
  • What is one thing I have in common with someone I find challenging to work with or be with?
  • What are four things most important to me?
  • When do I feel like the best version of myself?
  • What part of me needs more self-compassion?
  • What negative thoughts do I have and need to stop? Are there positive thoughts can I replace them with?
  • Are there areas of my life would I like to improve?
  • What three things do I spend most of my time doing during the day?

 

Asking ourselves mindfulness questions helps us discover what we are thinking and feeling and helps us improve our lives. Mindful journaling is one of the easier mindfulness activities for adults.

 

 

 

 

young woman writing in mindfulness journal writing mindfulness questions positive intention for the day and mindfulness affirmations

4. Positive Intention for the Day–Examples of Mindfulness for Beginners

Setting a positive intention for the day is another of the examples of mindfulness activities for adults that can be implemented into your daily routine. Focusing on a positive intention for the day can positively impact your day because the intention can guide us.

When deciding on a positive intention for the day, ensure it describes a clear, meaningful intention that helps you stay centered and focused as the day moves on.

It does not take long to set an intention, and it is a commitment to yourself to stay focused on something important to you.

How do you choose a positive intention for the day? Think about your goals and your values. Values, for example, may include compassion, confidence, balance, connection, forgiveness, family, patience, health, fun, self-respect, teamwork, peace, or faith.

 

Tips – starting the morning with a positive intention for the day

  • When you wake up, sit up in bed or on a chair. Relax.
  • Take a few deep breaths and focus solely on how they feel. Feel the air going through your nose, throat, or abdomen.
  • Think to yourself: What is today’s positive intention for the day? Focus on your intention and let it resonate with you, so you feel its power. Connect with the why, why this intention is important.
  • Write down your intention for the day. Commit to that positive intention for the day. Write in a journal or use a piece of paper: Today, I commit to _________.
  • Check-in throughout the day on how you are doing with your intention. Pause for a minute, focus on a deep breath, and think about your intention.
  • Appreciate yourself for focusing on an intention for the day.

 

Examples of a Positive Intention for the Day

Today, I commit to eating healthy

Today, I commit to being the best mom I can be

For today, I commit to being compassionate toward others

Today, I commit to doing mindful deep breathing when I feel stressed

Today, I commit to listening attentively to what people are saying to me

For today, I commit to being kind to others

Today, I commit to mindful eating

 

 

 

positive affirmations written on brightly colored sticky notes scattered

 

5. Mindfulness Affirmations  – Examples of Mindfulness for Beginners

Evidence suggests that self-affirmations have many positive benefits on our well-being, including decreasing stress and making us more open to change our behavior. Self-affirmations are acts that also affirm our self-worth, frequently reflecting on our core values.

Mindfulness affirmations are statements designed to help you overcome negative thoughts or boost self-esteem.

Repeating a positive affirmation can also help increase your confidence and motivation, but you still need to take steps to make any changes.

However, if you regularly practice positive mindfulness affirmation, you can make long-term changes in the ways you feel and think.

 

Some people like to use positive mindfulness affirmations with their mindfulness activities. For example, when doing mindful breathing, you can repeat a positive mindfulness affirmation upon each inhalation. When you exhale, release anything that may stand in the way of that positive mindfulness affirmation.

Practicing mindful affirmations is a good start to mindfulness for beginners.

 

Start your Day with a Mindfulness Affirmation

Similar to starting your day with an intention, as discussed above, you can start your day with a positive mindfulness affirmation.

 

Tips for Mindfulness Affirmation

  • There are lists of positive affirmations all over the internet. Make your own master list of at least 20 positive mindfulness affirmations. You can either find some that resonate with you or create your own.
  • If creating your own mindfulness affirmations, think about your values, what is important to you, and how you feel about things. Write them in the present tense.
  • Pick one mindfulness affirmation each morning. Say it out loud, or, if you prefer, you can also repeat it in your mind. Many people repeat it up to 20 times and do so at least three times a day. With this in mind, there is no optimal or set number of times to repeat your affirmation, so do what you can manage daily.

 

Positive Mindfulness Affirmation Examples

I am calm

I can do this

My body gets stronger every day

I attract positive energy

I have nothing to worry about

My friends and family love me

I will be mindful of my body

I believe in me

My feelings and emotions are valid

I am loved by many people

I am proud of myself

My mind is strong

I accept who I am

I am amazing

My compassion for others remains strong

I love and respect myself

I believe in my abilities

 

 

For more information about positive affirmations, please read our blog post: What are Positive Affirmations and the Benefits of them?

 

 

 

joyful senior woman sitting pouring juice with plate of food mindful eating

 

6. Mindful Eating – Mindfulness for Beginners

Mindfulness helps you recognize your emotions and physical sensations, which can include eating.

The purpose of mindful eating is to savor the moment and the food and be fully present for the eating experience.

Mindfulness eating is also another example of everyday mindfulness activities for adults that can be implemented regularly.

 

Some tips for mindful eating include:

 

  • Pay attention to hunger, meaning when you feel you are hungry and that it is true hunger, not other triggers that make you want to eat. Distinguish between true hunger and emotional eating.
  • Eat only if you are truly hungry, and if you have food cravings, allow them to pass.
  • Before eating, pause for a minute and appreciate your food. You can also silently express your gratitude for the meal you are about to eat and any company you are enjoying it with.
  • Eat slowly, and focus on the flavor, texture, smells, and colors of your food. Do this with each bite. How does it taste in your mouth? How does it feel in your mouth and your stomach? Appreciate the food you are eating.
  • Be attentive to your response to food
  • Eat nutritious food that will help maintain your well-being. Eat nutritious foods, not foods that provide emotional comfort.
  • Be attentive to feelings you have about food
  • Be mindful to stop eating before you are too full
  • When finished, appreciate yourself for practicing mindful eating.

 

 

 

 

group of seniors sitting in chair practicing meditation and mindful breathing

7. Mindfulness Meditation –Examples of Mindfulness Activities for Adults

Mindfulness meditation is mental training that enables you to release negative or racing thoughts and calm your mind.

It combines the practice of meditation with mindfulness.

Additionally, it is a mental state that brings your attention to “the now” so you can acknowledge and accept your sensations, feelings, and thoughts without judgment.

Mindfulness meditation techniques vary but usually include deep breathing while being aware of your mind and body.

 

Tips to practice mindfulness meditation include:

 

Practicing Mindfulness Meditation

  • Carve out some time when you want to focus on mindfulness
  • Sit in a comfortable place that is calm and quiet. Sit upright, either using a chair or on the floor.
  • Some people like to use a timer (optional), so they can forget about time.
  • Beginners can start with a short 5- or 10-minute session. As you practice, gradually increase sessions by another 10 or 15 minutes.
  • When tuning into mindfulness, pay attention to the present moment
  • Acknowledge thoughts. The goal isn’t to stop them but rather to be a witness to them. Don’t ignore them. Acknowledge thoughts but let them float by like a cloud. Don’t make any judgments about them. Let them go.
  • If you notice your mind wandering, as many do, gently bring it back to the present moment
  • Recognize those thoughts are thoughts and do not pass judgment (good or bad) on the content of the thought.
  • If you notice any thoughts or judgment, acknowledge them and let them pass
  • Return to the present moment. Keep bringing your awareness to the present moment.

 

Practicing mindfulness is simple, but it is not easy because our minds tend to wander.

Some people use different methods, like guided meditation or breath awareness, to stay focused. There are numerous apps and videos that you can access for guided meditation or other mindfulness meditation techniques.

 

 

Practicing Mindfulness Meditation with Breathing as an Anchor

  • Sit down someplace comfortable in a calm environment
  • Set a short time limit
  • Pay attention to your body, how your legs, arms, and body feels
  • Notice the sensation of your breath as you inhale and exhale
  • Focus on feeling the sensation of your breath
  • Focus on breathing. Feel each breath, the sensation in your nose, throat, and body. Feel the temperature change on inhalation vs. exhalation.
  • When your mind wanders, acknowledge it and bring your attention back to your breath
  • Don’t judge your thoughts or yourself. Instead, bring your focus back to your breathing.

 

 

 

young woman brushing her hair on bed

 

8. Everyday Mindfulness – Mindfulness Activities for Adults

Everyday mindfulness is being present and aware of what we are doing instead of going through the day on autopilot.

Most things we do daily can be done more mindfully.

Meaning, we can practice everyday mindfulness in our daily tasks.  For example, we can implement everyday mindfulness in showering, brushing our teeth, combing our hair, eating, exercising, walking (anywhere), or driving.

When we go through the day on autopilot, we are just going through the motions of each task and not paying much attention.

On the other hand, everyday mindfulness allows you to be tuned into your senses, enabling you to better notice your thoughts and emotions.

 

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Summary

Evidence shows numerous benefits to practicing mindfulness. There are many options when looking at mindfulness for beginners.  Mindfulness activities for adults include more than mindfulness meditation. Other examples of mindfulness activities include mindful breathing, walking meditation, maintaining a mindfulness journal, positive intention for the day, everyday mindfulness, mindfulness affirmations, and mindful eating. You can practice everyday mindfulness by incorporating awareness in many of your daily tasks.

 


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