Mindfulness: How to Start

One of the easiest ways to describe mindfulness to my clients is this. Imagine a picture where you are walking your dog. Your thought bubble has all the things you have to get done such as chores, to-do list, and multiple errands. But your dog’s thought bubble only has the walk in mind and is in the moment. This is how I explain mindfulness vs mindful to my clients. We have to be like the dog and be present in the moment. We have to be active and open to the present moment, this includes focusing on your breathing, body sensations, and our surroundings.

Here’s how I begin with including mindfulness into my daily life and hopefully these tips can help you too.

Start Small:

I encourage my clients to begin small, set a goal of 1 minute of being mindful and focusing on your surroundings/breathing. You don’t need a large amount of time to practice mindfulness. You only need about two minutes. Bonus points if you have a mindfulness goal on your watch, it can already provide a prompt for you to follow along with on the screen.

Mindful Breathing:

Throughout the day, take a few moments to focus on your breath. You can do this anywhere, whether you’re sitting at your desk, standing in line, or taking a short break. Pay attention to each inhale and exhale, bringing your mind back to your breath if it starts to wander. I encourage my clients to breathe in through their nose and exhale like a whoosh. You can even blow bubbles and focus on the shapes of them.

Mindful Eating:

In this time of technology, it can be easy to watch a show or be on our phones while eating. I recommend clients try this 1-2x a week. When you eat, try to eat without distractions, no phones or work during this time. Pay attention to the flavors, textures, and sensations of each bite. Eating mindfully can increase your appreciation for food and help you to slow down. It helps us to listen to our bodies when they are full.

Walking Mindfully:

This is my personal favorite and I try to incorporate this daily in my own life but this can be hard if you are pretty busy. It can be a great activity to include your family, friends, or significant others! Whether you’re walking to your car, around the office, or in nature, use this time to be present. Like I said in the introduction, be like a dog and be in the presence of nature. Notice the sensation of each step, the feeling of the ground beneath your feet, and the movement of your body. Notice how many animals you hear in the distance, observe the different colors or shades of the trees, or feel the breeze or sun on your face/skin.

Remember, mindfulness is a skill that develops over time with consistent practice. Be patient with yourself and approach it with an open and non-judgmental attitude. Regular practice can lead to increased self-awareness, improved focus, and a greater sense of well-being.


About the Author: Christina Estrada

MSW, LSW Christina joined FCS in July 2022 as a Bilingual Licensed Social Worker. Christina has her Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of St. Francis. Her clinical interests include working with children, adolescents, and young adults in the treatment of anxiety, depression and other mental health struggles or issues from a trauma-informed and strength-based framework. Christina has experience providing individual and group therapy while implementing Cognitive Behavior, Person-Centered, and Solution-Focused Therapy into her sessions. She is currently working towards her clinical licensure.