Practice makes perfect. How many times have you heard that in your life? A lot of times we see people achieving things that look so easy, not even wrapping our head around how much practice it took for them to be able to make it look so effortless. Mindfulness is no different. Those that have been practicing mindfulness for an exceptionally long period of time often make it look and sound quite easy. But that is not true. Even they had to begin somewhere. If you have had challenges beginning your mindfulness journey, you are not alone. In this post I want to talk about a few barriers that you may encounter in your mindfulness journey.
This is one of the biggest barriers that I have been facing in my mindfulness journey. Many of us have so many things on our mind all the time that are thoughts are constantly bouncing from one thing to another. These never ending stream of thoughts can be a hinderance to being present in the moment since being present requires you to focus on the here and now. It can be a challenge to focus when your thoughts are all over the place, but it can be done. It just takes practice. This is much easier said than done but you must practice slowing your thoughts down. If you find that your thoughts are racing to the point there you cannot focus, shift your thoughts to your breaths, the sounds around you, or even the smells around you. It takes discipline but you can do it.
Not Enough Time
We all have busy schedules that often lends itself to very little free time. It seems that there is always something to do or somewhere to be. When thinking of being mindful, it is quite easy to feel like it is a chore – one more thing to stick into your busy schedule. You will not get the full benefit of being mindful if you are treating it like a task and not something that is to your benefit. My suggestion for this barrier is to schedule your mindfulness time for the same time every day. Whether it is early in the morning before work or in the evening before bed, make it a part of your routine. If it is in your daily schedule, it will become a part of your routine and not something that you feel needs to be rushed through.
Change Takes Time
Many of us want instant gratification. Our phones give us quick access to our family and friends, latest news, and social media. You can get almost anything you need in a few seconds’ time. Unfortunately, the practice of mindfulness is not something that will give you that instant gratification. It is a process just like any journey or new habit that you embark upon. You must keep practicing mindfulness even when it feels like nothing is changing. Remember that this is a process, and that change comes after consistency and time.
Doubt is a mindset that can hinder you if you are not careful. It will have you so convinced that something may not work that you end up not putting your all into whatever it is that you are trying to achieve. Doubting that your mindfulness journey will be beneficial will have you missing out on the many benefits that it has. When you begin to doubt that something will work, you run the risk of not fully giving it a chance because you are already doubting that it will work. Overcoming a doubting mindset is a feat in of itself. If you choose to begin the mindfulness journey, try your best to push through all doubts so that you can reap all the benefits.
Distractions come in so many forms. There are the obvious distractions to mindfulness such as your phone ringing or being interrupted. But things such as being hungry, being stressed, or being tired are also distractions because they take your focus off being mindful and onto whatever the distraction is. The obvious remedy for this is to try to eliminate as many distractions as possible prior to practicing mindfulness. Also, you may want to try only being mindful for about 3-5 minutes and then work yourself up to longer periods of time. If you happen to encounter some of these distractions, do not be too hard on yourself. Just refocus and try again.
Have you encountered these barriers in your mindfulness journey? If so, how did you overcome them? Comment below if you have overcome these barriers or if you encountered different barriers.