What is Mindfulness?
Well, it's basically slowing down in order to notice all the little things around you or inside. Taking stock of those little things. Simple right? But in our world this can become a seemingly impossible task. The constant distractions, social media at your finger tips and the whole keeping up the Jones culture, mindfulness has become a real art. So what is it's purpose I hear you ask, it can help with;
- Stress reduction
- Chronic pain
- Sleep problems
- Improve our brain’s ability to process information
- Reduce brain-related problems in old age
- Strengthen our immune system
- Lift our mood and reduce stress.
It is becomingly vastly used amongst businesses, hospitals and even schools. It can be practised by anyone at any time. I even practise it with my four year old.
Examples of mindfulnessIt may be the smell of coffee as you wake in the morning, the feel your favourite chair as you settle down with a good book. The simple and ordinary things that we often overlook. All this may sound very small, but if we interrupt our usual 'autopilot mode' you then start to have a new perspective on life. In other words, think less, notice more. Or quite simply, be.
How can you start to become more mindful?
I'm trying to do this daily with the use of my Calm app. It's something that really helps ease anxiety and also helps with insomnia. Normally I will do a 7 min session using the app, but you can do this in under a minute. Start by breathing in and out slowly. One cycle should last for approximately 6 seconds. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow effortlessly in and out of your body. Let go of your thoughts for that minute. Let go of things you have to do later today or pending projects that need your attention. Simply let yourself be still for one minute. Definitely helps when you're feeling slightly overwhelmed.
It may be an obvious one, but it can be incredibly powerful. Bringing yourself back to nature and appreciating what's around you gives you fast perspective and creates a harmonious feeling.
This is something I currently struggle with and something I so desperately need to work on as it can be what "tips me over the edge", always focusing what needs to be done and then getting myself incredibly overwhelmed. The intention of this exercise is to escape the persistent striving we find ourselves caught up in on a daily basis. Rather than anxiously wanting to finish an everyday routine task in order to get on with doing something else, take that regular routine and fully experience it like never before. Instead of labouring through and constantly thinking about finishing the task, become aware of every step and fully immerse yourself in the progress. Take the activity beyond a routine by aligning yourself with it physically, mentally and spiritually. Who knows, you might even enjoy the cleaning for once!
There are many more activities that you can do to be more mindful and I'm hoping to share more of them with you in the future.
Mindfulness as a parent
Are you a fan of mindulness? Has it helped you?