How to motivate yourself to build your mindfulness practice, and an easy way to see if its working:
At the start and end of any meditation check your baseline.
Scan your body from head to toe and check what it is you are aware of, without trying to fix anything.
Pay particular attention to the quality of:
- The quality of your thoughts, are they fast or slow? Do they jump around a lot? Is there a tension to them or not?
- Your physical feelings – areas of tension, relaxation, comfort or discomfort in your body
- Other sensations – areas of hot or cold or tingling sensations for instance
- Emotions – happy, sad, angry, confused etc. Where are they in the body? How much space do they take up? What qualities do they have, like a weight, texture or colour?
The likelihood is that your state will be different after meditating. You might not notice that so clearly without deliberately checking.
This is a good way of reinforcing that what you are doing in your meditations is working – it’s producing a change. If there is no change after a meditation has been tried for a while, perhaps it is time to try a different meditation technique. Or to get the support of a class of some kind.
Its also something you can do through the day as a check in to see how you are doing. In this way you can become more mindful and take a step back and see how you are doing. This is particularly useful in stressful or triggering situations!
Its something I’ve used with clients who are new to mindfulness or perhaps a little sceptical to show them that it works. After a 3-5 minutes guided meditation their stress and anxiety has usually dropped significantly! Of course over time this builds and you will find that your baseline is much better than it used to be!!