I am obsessed with puppies. Especially golden retriever puppies…*swoon*. You know the ones – when they can’t control their little tails and they’re trotting around happily distracted by everything while their owner is trying to rein them in on the leash. So cute! And this is exactly how my brain is when I attempt to be silent. Distracted, inundated by different random thoughts while I’m desperately trying to shut it all up! This tells me that I’m high on information overload, busyness, hurriedness, and distraction from what’s really important in my life. So I told myself that silence is for the overly spiritual people who are naturally more calm…not me.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking more about mindfulness. My word for 2020 is “presence“, and I feel like I’ve totally been failing at feeling like I’m being more present this year. It’s taken me a while to clarify what truly being present means, and what I need to do in order to feel like I’m improving.

My answer? Silence. Ugh! What a bummer (LOL). Can’t it be something easier!?

A good friend of mine recommended a book to me that I’ve started reading to give a few guidelines for silent time and prayer twice a day. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day by Peter Scazzero has been helping my husband and I start practicing silence in a simple way. Here are a few tips from the book that I’ve been working on:

Set a timer for 2 minutes.

When silence feels daunting or weird, it helps to set the timer and only commit to 2 minutes. I close my eyes and try not to peek at the timer, but I usually do (LOL). It’s okay not to be perfect. I hear you get better at it over time (still waiting on that)…

Take deep breaths.

I’m not sure if this is breaking the rules, but I take deep breaths and count to 4 during my first few inhales and 8 during my first few exhales. I try to relax any tension in my body (especially my shoulders where it likes to hang out), and this helps me feel more calm to continue the rest of the 2 minutes.

Focus on a word.

When my mind starts to be that golden retriever puppy, I focus on a word to tug the leash and get my mind to heel. When a random thought pops through my head and I find myself following it, I envision the word “presence”.

I’m hoping to start incorporating even a few moments of silence throughout my day – in the mornings before starting my work, throughout the day when I can feel the tension of stress, and in the evenings before bed.

How do you incorporate mindfulness into your life?

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