“Just a little green, like the color when the spring is born.
There’ll be crocuses to bring to school tomorrow.”

Joni Mitchel

When did you notice, REALLY notice, the magnificent transformation into spring? Did you smile when you saw the happy daffodils that popped up overnight? Maybe your skin delighted in the first kiss of a warm breeze? Perhaps the earthy aroma of freshly spread mulch ignited a memory? Possibly you haven’t paid intentional attention to these everyday, magnificent phenomena at all?

We tend to run on the high-octane fuel of MORE, BETTER, FASTER. Our minds become “full” of to-do lists, plans for the future and worries about the past. Over time “MIND FULL “ can cause stress, anxiety, burnout and depression. We unknowingly disconnect from the present moment and overlook the everyday magic and beauty around and in us.

Mindfulness is a practice of paying attention, in the moment, on purpose. When we choose to intentionally become mindful it improves our physical and mental health as well as our subjective feelings of well-being. Starting a routine of everyday mindfulness is as straightforward as an increased awareness of the metamorphosis of spring:

  1. Challenge yourself to notice one or two new things each day. Look for trees starting to develop buds or bloom. Notice changes in others as the weather warms. Observe a subtle sense of renewal in yourself.
  2. Take a moment to examine (as if you were a scientist) the intricacy of a flower, the magic of a smile, the joyful chorus of birds.
  3. Savor the first bite of your favorite spring food. Deeply inhale the scent, notice its texture and color. Describe the taste and note the sensation as you chew. Attempt to use descriptive words (tart, sweet, savory) instead of judgment words (yummy, good, delicious) to express this simple pleasure.

These basic guidelines can help further create your personal mindful practice:

  1. Go with the flow.

Once we establish mindful concentration, the objective is to observe the flow of inner thoughts, emotions and body sensations without judging them as good or bad.

  1. Pay attention.

Notice, in the moment, external sensations, such as sounds, sights, and touch.

Simply watch what comes and goes in your mind. Note the mental habits that produce feelings of well being or suffering. Gently redirect your mind to the present, when it wanders (which it will, again and again.)

  1. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.

The key integrating mindfulness into your life is daily practice. Five to twenty minutes a day engaged in practice can lead to healthy change. If you miss or forget a day, simply begin again.

  1. Practice Acceptance

Acceptance of all thoughts, feelings and sensory experiences is crucial to developing your mindful practice. This includes becoming kind and forgiving toward our self, others and the world. As a result of a intentional mindful practice, it becomes easier to accept day-today life situations.