Need help with accountability?
I have a confession to make… I talk a lot with clients and write often in my blog about the value of doing a regular mindfulness practice. I listen to many experts on how to build and sustain regular mindfulness practices.
My confession is that I had not been practicing a regular daily mindfulness practice up until two months ago. Yes, I was doing mindfulness a few minutes here; sometimes a half hour there; often listening to meditators give a talk about it; or snatching some moments of mindful thinking here and there. I sometimes sat with clients and listened to guided meditations with them; or listened to the sounds around me; or did an occasional body scan; or listened to Mindfulness Daily talks with short practices.
I was probably being seriously mindful a few times each day, but I was not adhering to a regular sitting practice. Sometimes I was even trying to multitask my Mindfulness with exercise or household chores, or while listening to talks.
Now, it was not terrible what I was doing; but it wasn’t a daily regular practice. I wasn’t really backing up what I teach about with my own committed practice.
When the time changed two months ago, I decided I would just incorporate some regular mindfulness sessions into my already changing time schedule and stick to it more consistently. Now, for over eight weeks, I have not missed a day to start my day with a dedicated sitting mindful practice, even on super busy days when I have to leave the house early. I get up earlier, and start each day with 20 to 30 minutes of meditative sitting. I have been doing silent meditations with bells that chime every five minutes, for over 60 days.
In doing so, I’ve been pleased to notice that I can access calm more easily; I can better select what to focus my attention on; I have greater attention; I am able to withstand difficult emotions and experiences a little more easily; I am not perseverating so much on the things that trouble me; I’ve been able to reflect on problem situations with more clarity and depth of thinking; I have felt more awake and attuned and compassionate; people have commented that I have greater patience; I have moved through some challenging and painful circumstances a little more freely; and I have a greater sense of self compassion.
Daily mindfulness practice really works and helps me to be more present with more calm, and feel more peace and contentment and well-being, all the while feeling as if everything is just a little bit more manageable.
I have been more creative; not so scattered; more accepting; less discouraged; and more able to learn new things in these last two months of dedicated daily practice.
I have managed to build in accountability and to be more honest with myself by going back to The Mindfulness App on my iPhone. This is the first mindfulness app I learned of, and recently I have recommitted to the use of it. It continues to be my favorite. In these few weeks that I have “returned” to it in a real way, I’ve seen that some updates have been made that actually make it even better.
If you’re needing a little help to get on track or get back to a daily practice, you might really appreciate this app. Here is the link:
Mindfulness App: iOS
The cost is only a couple of dollars.
It includes a five day Getting Started program that by listening to for a few minutes a day, you can learn about different anchors for your attention, like the breath, letting go, sounds, the mind, and appreciation.
You can then move to the Timed Sessions that include guided, silent or personalized meditations that you can listen to for three, five, 15 or 30 minutes. You can set up what works best for you. An added benefit is an array of background sounds that you can select, to enhance your sitting practice (waves, the beach, forest, rain, stream). My preferred meditation practice is 15 to 30 minutes of silent meditation, with bells that chime every five minutes, and background wave sounds.
This is pretty easy to set up and is the first thing I do each morning, once I get out of bed. It seems to make a big difference in how my day gets started.
On the app there are a lot of options available to you to select from, without paying any more money, but if you’re really into it, you might choose to select some meditations by other well-known meditation leaders (John Kabat-Zinn, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Rick Hanson, Kelly McGonigal, Kristen Neff, etc.) and then save those to your Favorites.
To purchase additional meditations from the Premium section, you can pay five dollars a month or $60 a year to have ongoing full access to that extensive library, or you can purchase individual items at $1- $35 per item (most under $10). If you’re going to listen to many more different meditations, it’s more cost-effective for you to subscribe to the full access library; but you also don’t have to spend any more money after the initial $2 – 3 to buy the app and you can still have a pretty wide selection of choices to practice daily (Or as regularly as you can). The additional single meditations or courses are focused on the themes of fears, acceptance, eating, sleep, challenges, parenting, pregnancy, flight, difficult emotions, relationships, body, focus, and compassion.
I also enjoy the Reminders I can set up on the app to come at random times throughout the day. They ask if I want to meditate, or they chime a bell, or offer some encouragement to be mindful – even when I’m not sitting and directly meditating. I love when I am in the middle of my day, and the chime sounds and brings my attention back to the very moment that I’m in. I can also review my stats to make note of how I’m doing.
This simple app is the right tool if you’re looking to start a new meditative practice, or just want to be more accountable to an already made intention to be more mindful in your life. Mindfulness is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help yourself deal with anxiety or depression or troubled relationships or difficult emotions.
It’s definitely a viable practice to incorporate more into your every day life, and is even more helpful when you do it daily. The mindfulness app can certainly help you get there.
Of course, do come in to therapy and talk further if you need help to find out more about self-care practices that will help you to feel better in all aspects of your life.
I would love to hear from you about your challenges or thoughts about doing a daily meditation practice in your life. Let me know what that might be like for you or any problems you might be having as you try to be more accountable to yourself.
For more ideas on how to bring more calm and less worry into your life, click here for a free email course on Mindfulness.