I love watching people get started with mindfulness. It’s such an incredible way of being, and it offers so many awesome benefits. (PS: If you’re new around here, and aren’t really sure what mindfulness is, click here.)
Here’s a Cliffnotes refresher: Mindfulness involves being aware of the present moment with an open and non-judgmental attitude. It involves noticing one’s experience in a more nuanced and subtle way, tuning into things we might otherwise gloss over.
Simply stated, mindfulness involves noticing what’s happening. Seems simple enough, right? Well, I’ve found that beginners in mindfulness often translate this into trying to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. Instead of a calm observance “Hmm, my muscles feel tight” people tend to say, “Ugh, why are my muscles so tense?” Instead of noticing feeling hurt after an interaction with a friend, people highlighting their sensitivity and then criticize themselves for overreacting.
Mindfulness involves being curious about your experience, not critical of it. Mindfulness is about noticing and observing, not blaming and shaming. If you’re working to be more mindful, try to take a more curious approach with yourself.
Do you find yourself slumping at your desk midday, tired and sluggish? Be curious about that. Let yourself wonder about that. Don’t jump to, “What is wrong with me? Why am I so tired?”
Have you noticed yourself snapping at your family more? Be curious about what else is happening and what emotions are popping up. Don’t beat yourself up for it.
Do you feel down and depressed lately? Wonder about this experience in a curious way, rather than wondering what is wrong with you.
Curiosity is something we often forget about as adults. We’re pressed for time and focused on deadlines. Curiosity can almost seem like a luxury. If this sounds familiar, try to think of curiosity through the eyes of a child. Think about what it’s like to see something for the first time, to wonder, and to be interested with genuine intrigue. Curiosity is at the root of discovery, and mindfulness is really all about discovery.
So next time you find yourself trying to “figure out what’s wrong” or why you did something, slow down, take a breath, and be curious. I promise, you’ll learn a whole lot more that way.
PS: Ready to start being more curious? Check out this post to learn the simple question that can jumpstart your curiosity!