New to mindfulness? Try these 3 tips for beginners.

June 24, 2019

By: Gabe Paoletti, EdD, MAPP*

Mindfulness can help you cope with stress, lower your blood pressure, sleep better, become more focused and alert, and improve your relationships with those around you. Regular practice of mindfulness also can help improve performance in military environments and everyday life. It sometimes can be tricky to start practicing mindfulness, and you even might find yourself frustrated or wanting to give up. So, here are 3 tips to help set you up for success.

Mindfulness is simple but not easy.
One struggle you might have when first practicing mindfulness is doubt or even frustration over whether you’re doing it right. Mindfulness is simply being aware in the present moment without judgment. Sounds simple, but when practicing mindfulness, you might wonder if it’s working. You even might get angry and say, “This is stupid!” It’s important to remember these thoughts are okay, and as long as you’re aware of them and let them pass without judgment, then you’re doing it right!

Don’t expect a life-changing experience in an hour.
As you start practicing mindfulness, you might feel some immediate benefits such as feeling calm, relaxed, or compassionate. But keep in mind that, like any skill, results come with consistent practice. You wouldn’t expect to become an excellent marksman in just one hour of training on the range. In the same way, it’s important to practice mindfulness consistently to experience lasting results.

You can practice mindfulness at any time!
One misconception you might have about mindfulness is that you’re only practicing it if you’re meditating for 20–30 minutes while focused on your breathing. In fact, you can take advantage of everyday events to practice mindfulness at any time. Try to find routine opportunities to practice mindfulness such as savoring a warm morning shower (being fully aware of the water touching your skin), stretching, eating, or even during training.

Mindfulness practice can be an extremely rewarding experience that can enhance your performance in many areas of your life. To learn more, read HPRC’s “A mindfulness meditation primer.”

-------------------------------------About the Author-------------------------------------
Gabe Paoletti, of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, is a Scientist for the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

* The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences or the United States Department of Defense.

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