We participate in mindfulness exercises to build our brain’s capacity to take charge of our consciousness. Practice empowers us to:
- Face what is happening inside and around us
- Shape our spontaneous thoughts and feelings
- Awaken, realize and nourish our Well-BEING goals
Like exercising a muscle, mindful daily exercises allow us to shape the neural networks that we want to encourage in our brain. This frees us from our brain’s autopilot response, reactions that may or may not serve us in the present moment.
Action promotes learning and the consistent practice upgrades that learning to deeply embedded status, our “new and improved” brain circuitry. All is takes is a little practice… practice that begins and ends with “the right fit” of a mindfulness exercise for each of us. Therefore, while 20 minutes of a meditative practice may result in enhanced health, according to the research literature, if we are not used to (and/or do not have an affinity for) 20 minutes a formal meditative practice a day, start with fewer minutes! When in doubt, allow yourself to be guided by the following principles:
- “The “right fit” daily discipline is the one we AIM to do daily.
- We do not have to like the practice in order for it to be effective… as long as we refrain from “being violent” to ourselves. Avoid imposing any psychological or behavioral “force” through self-criticism , energy-depleting self-discipline, self-shaming, etc.
- Whatever our choice of a practice, our experience “is what it is.” We let go of all notions of what the process or outcome should be.
The following Daily Discipline Practices are empirically-validated ways to create a mindful brain.
Guided Daily Discipline Practices
- Mindful Breathing (1-min, 3-min, 5-min, 7-min, and 10-min audio options)
- Body Scan (5-min and 10-min audio options)
- Mindful Walking (1-min silent video demonstration)
- Mindful Gestures (3-min description and 3-min exercise)
- Mindful Movements (2-min and 15-min video options with Thich Nhat Hanh)
- Mindful Activity (3-min silent video demonstration)
- Listening to the Bell
© Copyright 2015 Maria Hunt, Ph.D.