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Best Foot Forward

If you are starting this year off with the intention of including mindfulness in your recovery here are a couple easy meditation practices to get you started.

Let’s recap:

• It’s not about how long you do a practice, its how often so start small and daily!

• You can teach an old dog new tricks, this too shall become a habit or a practice.

• The simple act of focusing on your breath is an act of mindfulness.

• You can “tame” your triggers through awareness which comes from developing a mindfulness practice.

• Mindfulness is not a one size fits all – it looks like it does for you, don’t compare to others.

If you are like me and need help getting started, this is how I do it:

1. Do your mindful practice first thing in the morning and/or last thing at night.

2. Schedule it in your diary if you must.

3. Set an alarm on your phone if need be.

4. Post it notes all over the house if you must!

Admittedly I got into my mindful routine using #1 and #4 but if you have a method that works for you, then please do use it. Don’t get too fancy on the how, just start and be open to change.

One of the strongest benefits I have experienced from have a mindful practice is self-compassion. So, let’s start there:

On a scale of 0-5, zero being I am critical all time of self and five being I am not critical of self and filled with compassion. Take your measurement, and be honest with yourself, there is no judgment here. Take a note of this score somewhere and then after having a mindful practice for one month, check in with yourself and then again after two months. I will be very surprised if your self-compassion scale does not increase.

What a meditation practice can look like?

Here are two short practices you can get on with to start forging your new mindful pathway!

Morning Gratitude Meditation

As soon as you wake up in the morning ask yourself “what am I grateful for today?” You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every morning, but bringing your attention to a variety of things will have a more profound effect. This can be done

• as soon as you open your eyes,

• with your morning cup of tea,

• in the shower,• while you brush your teeth,

• on the loo or frankly anywhere.

*I find a post-it note on the bathroom cabinet helps get this one into action.

Repeat the gratitude to yourself on a conscious breath in and a conscious breath out. Close your eyes to really give your gratitude the space it deserves. Allow your gratitude to fill the endless space behind your closed eyes.

Touching the Breath Meditation

Bring your attention to each inhalation and exhalation. Ask: “how I am breathing?”, don’t do anything special, just become aware of your natural breath. Count how many seconds is your inhalation and then how many seconds is your exhalation. Do this for a few breath cycles.

Now guide your inhalation and add a one second pause at the end then guide your exhalation and add a one second pause at the end. This pause is you “touching your breath”. I find it helps to visualize during this pause, myself lifting my dominate hand index figure and touching or tapping the air.

You are creating the energy of life here, you are taking something so important yet so benign as breathing because you don’t have to think about breathing, and you are adding power to it by the energy of letting go (exhalation pause) or the energy of creation (inhalation pause). You are touching the space between in which you have created, you are collaborating with your life force energy. Do this for as many cycles as you like.

I have to say this is my favorite meditation practice. I do it:

• on the train,

• in traffic,

• before I go to bed,

• if I awake at night,

• taking a break from computer work

This is my daily regular mediation practice that I do anywhere, anytime of the day and it brings me so much joy! I do hope you find yours.

Back-up Plan!

Okay so you don’t have any time and it’s been impossible to schedule anything. Give this a try: Put a post-it note on your front door or in your car, and write PAUSE: “take a breath in through your nose, feel your lungs fill from the bottom up, pause, exhale with a bit a umph! repeat three times. Have an impactful day.”

Final tidbit: Give yourself a chance and be open to something new, it takes time to re-train a new habit so be open to including these practices for a minimum of three weeks. I guarantee you, before you know it, they will become a part of your day.

Finally, if you’re struggling, remind yourself to find the joy in the small things you do, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Reach out if you have any questions or would like some more tips or practices – that is what I am here for! With Gratitude Destiny

For the Best Life Dry January challenge:

You can alternate the two meditation practices I have given you this next week and see which one you enjoy more. After this first week, don’t stop with the practice you are enjoying. Find a way to include it into the rest of January’s challenge.

Blog post written for the sobriety community within Best Life - Sobriety through connection and featured in the Mindfulness and Meditation Group within the App. Download the app here: 

Find Best Life on facebook for more info.

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