One of the best and most useful things I have learned this past year has been MINDFULNESS.
Have you ever felt that life is just too damned busy. Sometimes it just seems to race by and before you know it, another birthday, gone. Another year, gone. Another friend, gone. Another bill to pay ... Another job to do ... on and on and on ...
And life is so busy. If we're not worried about something that's going to happen we are worried about something that has already happened.
What will my boss say?
How will I cope?
What will x, y or z think when they find out?
Was I OK? Did I say the right thing? Why do I get everything wrong?
And on and on it goes.
Sometimes we just need to stop.
That's where Mindfulness comes in.
Mindfulness (to me) is about stopping and, as they say, smelling the coffee. Taking time out of your day, your business, those chaotic thoughts, the demands others keep making on you and pressing the pause button.
Listen to your breathing
(If you can't hear it or feel it you don't need a therapist, you need a doctor!)
Spend a few moments listening to your breathing.
Relax your shoulders. Close your eyes if you can and just feel your breathing.
In and out, nice and slowly, nice and easy, just breathe.
Before long your mind will start thinking about something else.
Don't worry about it, just gently recognise it and bring your focus back to your breathing.
Again your mind will wander. Don't judge or criticise yourself.
Just gently recognise the thoughts and bring yourself back to focusing on your breathing.
(Now if you're working or in the middle of something, that may be all you have time for. That's OK. Try just that, a few times a day. But if you have more time then continue with what follows).
As you continue with gentle breathing, eyes closed, gently begin to feel where your feet are, what your legs are touching, how your stomach feels, your back, your neck. Relax your shoulders.
Focus back on your breathing.
Mindfulness (and this is only an introduction) has so many benefits:
- It can help us to stop being busy and pause to reflect
- It can help us to feel how we really feel (which surprisingly we don't always do!)
- It can be a huge proven help with depression, anxiety and panic attacks
- It can help us to stop worrying about the past or the future and focus on now
- It can help us to genuinely stop and see the world around us with fresh eyes
Here are some other ideas:
Try and stop for a few minutes. Listen to your breathing and then slowly focus on each of your five senses one at a time.
It may seem strange but we often see things without even noticing them. Take time to really look, look at the colours, the shades, see the beauty that we so often take for-granted. Go for a walk with no other agenda but to really look at what is around you.
What can you smell? So often in the city we don't even smell the pollution or petrol because it's there all the time.
Take a small chocolate. What does it feel like in your hand? Does it weigh anything? Feel the inside of your mouth, do you feel the saliva. What does it feel like to swallow? Place the chocolate in your mouth. What does it actually taste like? As it stays there, are there different tastes? Bite into it. What does it feel like? Does the taste change.
Light a small candle. Sit and watch the flame, how it dances and moves. Look at the colours. Put your hand near enough to feel the warmth. What memories does it bring. How do you feel?
When you sit to eat something, try and eat slowly and taste each mouthful (this takes alot of practice, so just try a minute or two to start with). We so often eat whole meals without really pausing to taste what we are eating.
And, without being creepy, take time to casually look at people's faces, every one so incredibly different. See what makes them them. What kind of eyes do they have (don't try and put words to it, just experience it). What makes them unique?
These are just a few ideas. Experiment. Have fun, and above all, don't get stressed trying not to be stressed.
Regards and Love