I LOVE this question and it is something I deal with commonly in my work. I can still remember 20 years ago when I attempted a formal meditation practice to lower my outrageously high blood pressure (at the time) only to learn that meditation was so frustrating that my blood pressure went up even more!! I realized that finding a mindfulness practice that better matched my pace of life was necessary for success.
No matter how you decide to practice mindfulness, there are four primary goals that facilitate experiencing the benefits of mindfulness.
- Maintain present moment-to-moment awareness
- Disengage from strong attachments to beliefs, thoughts, and emotions
- Non-judgmental witnessing of self and habitual patterns of behavior
- Practicing Non-reactivity
It’s true that most people in pursuit of these mindfulness ideals try starting with quiet, seated meditation, which is actually the most difficult and often frustrating place to begin because it is in this very moment that a person realizes just how chaotic their own mind actually is.
A much easier and more successful place to begin is in the body with self-massage practices like tapping or acupressure followed by mindful movement exercises that stimulate enough sensation to hold the mind’s attention but not so much that a person feels overwhelmed by either the experience or attempting to empty their mind of thoughts.
I have also discovered after years of teaching these practices to others that somatic (aka body-centered) mindfulness practices translate better into being present and detached during real-life experiences like dealing with difficult people or having a flight canceled because you are learning to become mindful with stimulation, not in its absence such as with seated meditation.