I define mindfulness as “awareness with acceptance.”
This means you 1) become aware (conscious of) what you’re thinking, feeling, and doing and 2) accept it without judgment.
When you do this as a practice, you reduce so much negative emotion in your life, including stress and anxiety.
How you do it is what I want to share with you today—specifically the mindfulness tools that are available to you to become more mindful.
Here’s a look at seven tools you can use to become more mindful.
Tool #1: Thought Work
Thought work means examining your brain to see what you’re thinking.
Your brain is where your mind goes to work and comes up with thoughts—thousands every day, in fact.
Yet, most thoughts go unexamined.
Since how you think determines how you feel, it’s a core part of being mindful that you start to pay attention to what you’re thinking.
With an intention to become more mindful, you can start a practice of thought work where you examine what you’re thinking.
To Get Started:
- Write down everything you’re thinking about a specific challenge you’re facing.
- Separate out the facts (happening outside of you) from your thoughts (these are your opinions happening in your brain).
* In Grow You, my mindfulness community for moms, I teach an entire course on doing the inner work, where you learn exactly how to watch your thoughts and become more mindful. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Tool #2: Processing Feelings
Processing feelings is the practice of accepting your feelings without resistance.
This sounds somewhat easy and yet, it’s challenging to actually do.
But if you practice it every day you’ll get better at it and your life will drastically improve.
For example, if you’re feeling anxiety, it’s a normal human behavior to want to fix the anxiety (i.e. to push it away and get rid of it). What I’m suggesting here is that you do the opposite. Instead of resisting it and wanting it to leave your body, I want you to watch it, get curious about it, and really welcome it as if you’d chosen it.
When you allow your emotions instead of thinking your way out of them, they loosen their grip on you. The anxiety that was once so horrible isn’t so bad. It’s just a normal part of the human experience.
To Get Started: take my 3 Steps To Manage Anxiety Class For Moms. In this class, you’ll learn how to process any negative emotion (like anxiety, stress, overwhelm, or worry). This will help you become more mindful because you’ll begin to see how to allow your feelings without judgment or resistance.
Tool #3: Meditation
Meditation is said to be five times as effective than sleep is for calming down your nervous system and helping it rest.
While meditation won’t show you exactly what you’re thinking and feeling, it will help you get out of the “fight or flight mode” that your brain goes into with an activated nervous system. When your nervous system is activated like this, you can’t access your thoughts and feelings to watch them. Your primitive brain takes over.
Meditation is one of the most effective ways to calm down your body to a state of rest.
To Get Started: Practice 10 Minutes Of Silence (I give you the exact steps to do this on Instagram).
Tool #4: Breath Work
Breath work is a tool whereby you use breathing techniques to allow emotion to move through you.
The result is that you allow “stuck emotions” (such as stress) to leave your body.
If you’re in the emotional habit of feeling anxiety, stress, overwhelm, etc., then breath work can be a really effective way to break this habit. Otherwise, your brain and body will stay in the habit and cycle of repeating emotions.
I took a breath class in Chicago and absolutely loved it.
You can look in your area for a local class to get started.
- What Is Mindfulness? (podcast)
- Thursday Inspo (email newsletter)
Tool #5: Journaling
When you write down what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling, you increase your awareness of it.
You really can’t access your thoughts and feelings without writing about them. I talk more about separating your thoughts vs. facts here in my podcast.
So, if you’re feeling a little resistance, just know that the outcome will be worth it.
You can decide to write about your thoughts and feelings even if you don’t feel like it.
When you do, you’ll be amazed at what’s going on in your brain. It’s like cleaning out your closet and realizing how much junk you actually had. Your brain gets very messy too and it’s important to clean it out.
As I’ve coached thousands of women over the years, I’m always inspired by how much they grow simply by utilizing the journaling practice that I teach.
To Get Started: Download the 75 Journal Prompts For Moms. This is a free guide that gives you 75 journaling prompts to become more mindful and live more purposefully. Simply by doing journal prompts, you’ll have an easy way to integrate mindfulness into your morning routine.
Tool #6: Mindfulness Groups
Getting around other women who are practicing mindfulness will help you learn more about it in a very practical way that you can also apply to your life.
One word of caution: differentiate your free groups from your paid groups. Free groups can be a good introduction into how to become more mindful, and then an excellent segue into paid groups. In paid mindfulness communities you’ll get a guided, informational, and supportive space to learn and practice mindfulness tools. Often, the free groups have a lot of gossip and/or drama that does the opposite of helping you become more mindful.
Look up free and paid mindfulness groups online and in your area to get started.
- Mindfulness (podcast)
- Podcast Directory (free download)
Tool #7: A Mindfulness Coach
A mindfulness coach is someone who is trained in helping you do the inner work.
A good mindfulness coach shows you your mind, helps you process your emotions, and supports you through your challenges. She also believes in you and loves you from the moment you start working together.
I truly believe that everyone needs a coach in their life. Unlike therapy, which is diagnostic and past focused, having a coach helps you create your future intentionally.
With a mindfulness coach, you’ll have a guide to help you overcome stress and anxiety, while at the same time have a space to go to feel seen and supported in creating the future of your dreams.
This is what I do with my clients in Grow You, my mindfulness community for moms. It’s a space to come and do the inner work, become more mindful, and live more purposefully.
Grow You isn’t for everyone, so if it’s not for you, find another coach and community where you can get the support you need.
A Final Note
Test out a few of the tools above and see what you like most.
Creating a mindfulness practice that works for you will help you step into the woman, wife, and mom that you want to be.
Your future and your growth depend on your willingness to do this work. And these tools can help you get started.