Being mindful is a fantastic way to relax, it reduces stress and enables you to fulfil your potential, here are some facts about mindfulness and how you use it every day
What is it?
The oxford dictionary describes mindfulness as “A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment whilst calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, it is used as a therapeutic technique.” Mindfulness and meditation become more popular over the last 20 years and now you can even get smart phone apps to help you incorporate it into your daily routine.
The benefits –
Mindfulness meditation uses breathing awareness techniques to relax the mind. – It is easy to do, can be done anywhere and it is FREE! Regular practice trains you to focus your attention on the here and now, freeing you from worrying about the future or the past. People who practice it say it reduces their stress levels and helps them get deeper more beneficial sleep.
Breathing Exercises –
Sit or lie in a comfortable position, Yours eyes can be opened or closed, Gently focus on the process of breathing. Notice each breath as it happens – the rise and fall of your chest or abdomen, and the feeling of the breath in your nostrils. Feel what it is like to breathe – Let your mind wander, but do not allow yourself to fix on any one thing or thought. And always bring your attention back to your breath. Feel the connection between yourself and the space around you. After a few minutes bring this exercise to a close, take a few mins to think about the experience and how you feel in the present moment.
The Free Mindfulness Project is a great 0lace to start go to freemindfulness.org and get started – there are lots of apps and book on the market also one of the most famous –Eckhardt Tolle’s The Power of Now is a best seller. I personally like Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn which has five guided mediations and lots of tips and hints.
A Way of Life –
For some mindfulness is more than just mediation – It’s a way of life and about paying attention to what you are doing in the here and now. Feel the sensation of a cup in your hand, notice the feeling of your body sat in a chair – you are being mindful –
An important factor in mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience – wake up those senses – the sights smells sounds and tastes of the present moment around you, that you have switched off, some as simple as feeling the banister under your hand as you walk up the stairs.
Mindfulness can be simple and fun, and it’s not just about breathing and meditation – simple activities that draw you in and allow you to just focus on the task in hand. Some people incorporate it already without knowing that is it mindfulness- they see it as a way to relax – jigsaw puzzles, Knitting, crochet and sewing are all fantastic mindfulness projects. One of the latest ideas is adult mindful colouring which has become a huge craze.
Meet with others-
If you prefer trying these things out with others, trying mindful meet ups – there are hundreds of retreats or sessions run all over the country , there are dating or singing sessions and ones for adults, kids and families alike
Mindfulness is about the way you live everyday – this can be applied to mealtimes too. You can rediscover the joys of eating good food by taking your time over it, rather than gulping it down in a rush. It’s about actually tasting what you are eating noticing your thought feelings and sensations as you do so. How it is nourishing you? The look taste smell and taste of your food – how do you feel when you have digested it, and throughout your day? Having a Mindful approach to your food is always a good start to a healthy balanced diet, really thinking about what you are putting in your body and why.
On the road
You can develop your mindfulness techniques whilst out in the car, creating a positive driving experience by switching off the radio and listening to the silence – feel your body in your seat, relax any tension in your arms and hands, breathe deeply releasing any anger or stress you may feel on thee “out” breath, wish the other road user well and SMILE.
Mostly forget about the claims made that mindfulness can make you younger, healthier or live longer- This is all about taking a few moments to yourself every day to help you feel calmer more relaxed and more equipped to deal you your life in general – which can never be a bad thing can it!