Welcome to our Walk Of The Week, where each week we’ll be exploring a tool from our Pocket Mentor app that will empower you to thrive in the challenges of life and be happy, confident and resilient.
This week we look at the myths of mindfulness and how it won’t clear your mind.
I understand why you might think it should, a clear mind without any thoughts whirling sounds great and there’s a lot of false Information out there suggesting it should do so, but’s that’s not the true point of mindfulness.
That’s like trying to order a pizza from an Indian restaurant, we’re chasing the wrong outcome here and then we miss the benefits we could get: Increased focus, less stress, better control of our emotions, or a tasty paneer shashlik!
We speak to a lot of people that want the benefits of mindfulness;
Young professionals that want to destress from work, but feel frustrated that their mind wanders to work related things during their practice
Parents who are trying to use mindfulness to help them be more patient and calm with their kids, but get lost in thoughts of things they need to do.
In both cases, you stop the practice feeling like you've done it wrong and are then reluctant to try again. Although we’re striving to do our best here, we’re focusing on the wrong outcome.
So we’re going to change that now with 3 tips taken from the 5 To Thrive in our Pocket Mentor app. For those of you that are new here, our 5 To Thrive (as the name suggests) provides 5 daily tools to create a daily mental wellbeing workout. The first of these tools is the Mindful Moment - a daily breathing exercise.
Thoughts will arise, there’s no stopping this! Particularly when we first start out our mind will wander a lot and this is something we need to accept. Mindfulness isn’t about stopping thoughts, it’s about recognising when our mind has wandered and bringing our attention back to our breathing.
Knowing that, it’s now about reframing our mindset towards a wandering mind. Isn’t of judging ourselves, feeling like we’ve done it wrong, or being annoyed. Instead without judgement, congratulate yourself that you’ve noticed your mind has wandered and gently bring your mind back to your breathing.
Persist! You may not feel like you achieved much after your first practice but just like physical exercise, every rep we do matters and adds up to build our physical strength and fitness over time. It’s the same with mindfulness the benefits of… increase the more we bring our mind back when it gets distracted. The Pocket Mentor daily Mindful Moment provides a different breathing mindful exercise each day to help you do this.
We now know the true aim of mindfulness, we can practice without this frustrating feeling of doing it wrong or feeling stuck, but it's no good if we don't focus on step 3 - persist! This is because of the long term benefits of mindfulness are felt through building it into a regular habit. Have you ever tried to start something new and given up a few days in? Me too! This happens to so many of us, particularly in January with New Years resolutions! Why? It's hard for us to start and stick to something new... the chimp part of our mind likes the easy road and building a robust new habit is NOT easy. We need to make it as easy as possible for our brain to want to keep going with this new habit and so this is where The Pocket Mentor can support you in 2 ways.
Use the set reminders feature to remind you to do it at the same time everyday. Naturally we might forget
Your Growth Grows Trees
It's easy to not do something when it's only you, it's much harder to not do it when you have accountability and actions contribute to a wider project. As you might know The Pocket Mentor mission is to grow 1 million minds who grow 1 million trees and so for every 10 days you use The Pocket Mentor 5 To Thrive toolkit, we donate to plant a tree for you and you can track your progress and contribution to this mission directly within the app.
We can either stay stuck focusing on the wrong outcome and not seeing results, or you can start thriving by accepting thoughts will arise and focus on bringing your mind back to the anchor of your breathing, knowing this is the important step in mindfulness. We can build it into a helpful habit to reap the benefits of increased focus, decreased stress and better control of our emotions.
If this resonates, give a Mindful Moment a go now for free by joining The Pocket Mentor 7 day free trial here.
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