This week’s post about NYU really had me thinking. I mean, first of all, being able to live, work and study in a community with such extensive mindfulness resources is like a dream scenario for me, but that’s not news to anyone. What I’ve been thinking about this week is how even the most incredible resources aren’t worth anything unless and until people actually use them. What makes the mindfulness initiatives at NYU work is that 1) they are substantial, and varied, but 2) that there is a community of support around them. You have to find your people, you know? So for this weekend’s mindfulness challenge, you’re taking on creating either all or part of this two-part model for yourself. You’re turning your inward gaze outward, for just a minute.
My hope is that if you’ve been checking out this blog for more than a day or two, you might have a bit of a mindfulness practice coming together for yourself. (If you’re new, welcome! Mindfulness is fun – check it out.) Maybe you meditate, maybe you do yoga or another form of mindful movement, or perhaps you’re more interested in mindful listening or developing more compassion. Either way, you’ve got a little something going on. Chances are – and I’m guessing here – most of your practice is a solo one. If this is the case, that’s totally cool. Most of mine is, too. However, I have also found that a little external support now and then is helpful for keeping me accountable, engaged, and occasionally, fending off the yawns. Sometimes you have to spice things up, even in your mindfulness practice. Can’t let yourself get bored and wander off, you know?
Your challenge this weekend is to mix it up a bit, and either start to build or shake up your list of go-to external mindfulness resources. If you like a certain app, maybe try a new one or two. If you always meditate, try a mindful walk or mindful snack break. If you are shying away from a tougher exercise, like a metta meditation (IMHO), give it a shot. Remember, it’s “no-fail,” so you’re safe even if it’s a struggle.
If you’re already a jack-of-all-mindfulness-trades, then maybe you start building some community around this. Ever gone to a guided group meditation? They’re pretty cool, and all you have to do is show up and breathe. They’re everywhere now, too – you might even have one happening at your gym, yoga studio or community rec center. If that’s not your speed, maybe just start asking around to see if anyone else is interested in this stuff, and just talk about it with them. What apps do they like? What works for them? You might make a new friend, or at least get some good recs (pssst, share them with me! I love hearing what the cool kids are up to…).
The point is, we know that external support is valuable for helping create healthy habits that last. Mindfulness really is no different. Searching outside yourself (sorry, Google) for the people and/or resources that will help keep you engaged with your own practice can give you the longevity with it to really see the impact mindfulness can have in your life.
Plus, it’s more fun. And who doesn’t need more fun, especially on the weekend?
Photo credit: Hannah Morgan