Life today is a busy one. If you ask someone how their day is going, most will answer “busy”.
As the world gets busier, we’re doing more on autopilot on an ever increasing basis and unfortunately filling our days with more mindless moments than mindful ones.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is paying attention to what it is you’re doing in the present moment.
Mindfulness can be as simple as focus on eating a piece of toast: smelling the fresh toasted aroma, hearing the crunch of the bread as you bite into the toast, feeling the texture and taste of the spread and toast combined as you chew and enjoy each mouthful before you take the next one.
Or presenting a pitch at work: feeling the temperature in the room, hearing the chatter of the audience, the rustling of pens and papers and the hum of the air-conditioning, the feelings in your stomach and your mouth as you begin to speak.
It’s being aware of the experience as it is happening, be is a simple or complex activity.
Not every activity in our day needs to analysed in detail: it would be too exhausting to be present in every moment of our day. We do need however to be present and aware more often than we are now.
Why be mindful?
When we practice being mindful, we’re able to be with our self, in the moment, consciously participating in whatever is happening right then and there. To do so is very empowering. Regular practice of being mindful will:
- Restore balance in our lives
So much of our day is steered and managed by others which can at times leave us feeling overwhelmed and hence vulnerable to stress. When this happens, we’re at risk of being taken advantage of by others to fit into their agenda and not our own. With all our energy spent on assisting and giving to others, there can be little or nothing left for ourselves.
When you are mindful of being out of balance it gives you the opportunity to set boundaries so that you get to control how much you share of yourself and your time with others not the other way around.
- Provide self-care
Self-care is essential if we’re to function effectively on an on-going basis. When we give our self the gift of time to do things that bring peace and calm to our being, we are better for our self as well as others.
Self-care activities might be a walk in nature, having a massage, going to a movie, an early night in bed with a favourite book. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it is an activity of your choice that will restore some peace and calm to you.
- Enhances our intuition
When you practice being mindful every day, you learn to be authentic and true to yourself. It will also protect yourself from the constant demands that are placed on us by others as well as ourselves.
When you are mindful in a moment, you are able to tune into your body and get to know and understand the emotions your feeling. When we understand what is normal for us, mindfulness will quickly highlight when our personal balance is out and that some self-care is required to restore.
So how do you know if you’re out of balance in any moment?
The way in which you are breathing in that moment, is an indicator of imbalance, so stop and check how you’re breathing.
If you’re breathing is restricted and high up in your chest, you’re most likely stressed and out of balance.
By simply changing the way you breathe, you take the first step to restoring peace and calm within yourself.
Sounds too simple? Fortunately the solution is a simple one and involves being mindful of your own breath.
- Close your eyes
- Place your hands on your belly
- Breathe deeply through your nose and mentally follow your breath down into your stomach – you should feel your hands move as your belly fills with air
- Hold your breath for a second or two, then slowly breathe out through your nose, mentally following your breath as it flows up and out of your body
- Repeat this slow, deep belly breath three times and you will be feel noticeably calmer.
There are a number of simple meditations that you can also learn and practise to restore calm and balance to yourself. These can be learnt online, by phone apps or through self-development workshops in your area. I recently attended a full day mindfulness workshop with Zen Reflections and thoroughly enjoyed indulging in a day that was all about me (loved the opportunity for some self-care) and learnt a number simple and effective mindfulness techniques.
Practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, will allow you to be calm, non-reactive and fully present in any moment. When you are present and your body and mind are calm and at ease, fun and passion will flow back into your life.
Until next time
Wishing you a day of love, laughter, happiness and mindful moments.