Mindfulness is Like Building Friendships
They Take Time and Persistence to Grow
Recently I was traveling to San Antonio for a weekend of fun with family. During the trip, I decided to attend mass that was held at San Fernanda Cathedral. The church has historical significance for it houses the oldest sanctuary in the entire United States. Somehow, this sermon had more meaning given this historical fact.
During the sermon, the priest spoke about prayer and the importance of building a relationship with God. This relationship is built over time and persistence, similar to how a friendship is built. As I reflect upon this sermon, I was drawn to the similarities with the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness and Friendship Are Built with Similar Ingredients
The practice of mindfulness is well known to offer many positive aspects on health. For example, mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety. In addition, it promotes better sleep and has been shown to improve medical conditions such as high blood pressure. Jon Kabat-Zinn in his book Full Catastrophe Living highlighted the bounty of clinical benefits demonstrated in his Stress Reduction Clinic.
“Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
So why don’t more people practice mindfulness?
This is an important question, which is often answered by one of many excuses. Have you heard at least one of these – “I don’t have enough time”, “it does nothing for me” or “I don’t know what to do”, etc. Try applying those excuses to your friendships? Does it make sense to say – I do not have enough time to meet with my friend? Probably not…
So how do you build a friendship? They are built slowly, over time and with dedication. There was no “instant gratification” that happened after the first meeting. Friendships grow slowly and methodically, over time and with persistence. The same applies to mindfulness living.
The pursuit of mindful living is no different than making new friends. You have to be patient, consistent and dedicated. Over time, your mindful ways grow and become a part of your daily habit. Once you convert a mindfulness practice into a habit will the benefits start to appear. You will recognize that your more calm, you will respond rather than react and you will live each day with more confidence.
How to Turn Your Mindfulness Practice into a Habit
Habits are formed when they are simple to follow an easy to remember. Here at The Success Trinity we believe that mornings are the best time of the day to introduce new habits. Why? At this time of the day, there are less distractions clouding your attention, it is quieter and you to have a greater ability to focus.
Follow this simple plan to introduce mindfulness practice into your daily routine:
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier than you normally do. You should consider going to sleep 15 minutes earlier; therefore your sleep quantity will not be affected.
- Have a cup of warm water with lemon immediately upon awakening. This drink is known to be an excellent and simple morning cleans.
- Do 10 minutes of guided morning meditation. We are fans of “Morning Meditation with Music” by Jonathan Lehmann that can be found on Insight Timer.
- In the middle of your day, take a 5-minute break to do deep breathing exercises.
- (Optional but highly recommended) After work, spend some time on yourself, this could include any of the following: exercise, go for a walk, read a book or poetry, meditate or write in a journal.
Go forward – build your mindfulness practice the same as you build your friendships. This building process requires patience and dedication. Over time, the positive benefits will become obvious.