09 Feb MINDFULNESS
Have you ever found yourself sitting on the couch, with a television program in the background, having a half-hearted conversation with a loved one and scrolling through a social media feed on your mobile phone simultaneously? Or maybe you’ve been on the train to work, tuned into Spotify, reading news stories on your mobile device and eating breakfast, all at once? We have become a society of multi-taskers- committing to hundreds of tasks, doing five of them at a time and not giving any them the attention they deserve. We are no longer present in the moments we experience, nor do we reflect upon them.
What we lack is mindfulness- the simple practice of engaging all our senses and bringing full attention to whatever is occurring the present moment, without judgment. So how to we become more “mindful” in our day to day lives? By simply realising that we don’t have to wait a year or five or ten to experience happiness and fulfilment- we can experience it right now. We can experience joy by being truly present in moments- by not letting fear or anger or anxiety control our thoughts. Living in the past or the present too often can significantly impact our present- whether it dwelling on past relationships or worrying about future finances- these headspaces do not serve you presently.
Mindfulness can be practiced in many forms: with eyes open or closed; walking, sitting down, running, exercising and while completing day to day tasks. Being mindful is core foundation of any yoga practice. The blend of yogic movement, breathing and mindfulness is especially beneficial, particularly for those who naturally need movement to really relax.
One of the best ways to practice mindfulness in our everyday lives is meditation. Meditation is one of the easiest mindful practices you can add to your daily routine- even 10 minutes every morning can make a difference. On a physical level, meditation lowers blood pressure, decreases tension-related pain and increases serotonin production, immune function and energy levels. Mentally, meditation decreases anxiety, increases creativity/happiness, sharpens the mind and stabilises emotions.
- Find yourself a comfortable but aware upright position.
- Close down the eyes- this limits sensory input and slows down the minds and body.
- Gently bring your attention to the breath, taking note of each inhalation and exhalation – without trying to change anything or alter the act.
- When you notice your mind wandering (it will almost certainly happen) gently bring your attention back to the breath and start again.
- Practice this simple technique for 15 or 20 minutes daily