Mindfulness: a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
I feel great this week after joining a Mindfulness workshop Saturday just gone in Carlingford. I have come back to reality feeling reenergized and ready to practise mindfulness on a regular basis. In my industry, there are many buzzwords; some, like mindfulness, shouldn't be ignored. It's not just for gym bunnies, yoga lovers or stress heads. Mindfulness is for anyone who wants to look after their mental health.
It took me a while to commit to a session, partly because I thought I didn't need it, that it was just a nice thing to do. I'm not an overly anxious person, but I am a big believer in leading a balanced life. In a nutshell, mindfulness reduces stress levels, decreases negativity and introduces calm, perspective and an increased attention span to the mind. It provides a "space" away from all the hustle and bustle our lives attract. Who doesn’t want that?
I must admit, I find it difficult to set aside 15 minutes a day to meditate, although I enjoy it. For me, mindfulness is important as it is a time when I can pause and be in the present moment, any moment, any time during my day. I find myself reflecting on what I am doing, and how I am feeling.
For me, it is a time when I gain perspective or allow myself the time to become in touch with how I am feeling. I also have become more in tune to physical sensations in my body; for example, I have a greater awareness of my body when it becomes stressed. I can be aware that they are present, but that I can handle these sensations, basically as I am more in tune with my body, and maybe less afraid of these sensations.
How to get started:
- Start paying attention to your breathing. Note the flow of your breath, how your chest and belly move in and out to breathe.
- Pay attention to what you are doing as you are doing it. The stretch your fingers make to text, the movement of your legs as you walk, the colour, texture and taste of your food.Recognise
- Recognise that thoughts are just thoughts and that you don’t need to act, react or believe everything that pops into your mind.Our minds constantly wander, that’s ok. Notice when you tend to zone out eg driving,
- Our minds constantly wander, that’s ok. Notice when you tend to zone out eg driving, showering and practise bringing your wandering mind back to your breath and being more aware of the activity at hand.
Being mindful doesn’t mean you need to sit cross-legged on the floor and chant. Mindfulness is “me time”, anytime, anywhere. It’s free, it’s effective and can make you feel instantly more positive. When I first started introducing it, I listened to online videos to get in the zone. There are so many out there so I recommend you find one that you like, it’s a personal choice, so even finding a voice that you like can help you enjoy it more. I like this one.
I can’t recommend this enough. If you’ve ever tried it I’m sure you’ve felt benefits, it’s easy to get out of the habit though. Try it out and I hope you notice that it does feel so good to give yourself some mind time. Enjoy.
Until next time…