Many of you reading this may have heard of mindfulness, some may have not. For those that have, you may be thinking it is some weird meditation thing that the weird people do as they sit in their yoga poses and go ooohhmmm.
For those who are sat there now thinking “what is it?” and have never heard of it let me explain, it happens to be one of my favourite things to practice and is so easy to do, takes no fancy poses or equipment, just your own mind.
Mindfulness has nothing to do with speed
It’s simply being in the present
One moment after the next
As fast….or as slow as the situation requires
It is the art of being in that very moment in an almost childlike way. No questions asked, just allowing and enjoying that moment. Not the next or the one before, just the here and now.
So many of us have become conditioned to thinking so far ahead or living in the past we forget the here and the now and if we are being brutally honest… the here and now is all we have right?
But do we really savour this very moment? Like right now what are you doing? Are you really reading this writing? What colour is the page? Do you notice the photos? Do you like the one with the waves? Did you see the photo at the very start? Or are you half reading it thinking what to do for tea, or wishing the kids would shut up, or sat at work taking a sneaky break to read this?
Mindfulness is about making your mind full of stuff but not bad stuff to put it simply. Like you, when I first heard of this I thought oh no… not for me. Too much mumbo jumbo and fancy stuff I’ll never be able to do but yet I was really good at filling my head with utter rubbish and negative thoughts only enhancing and paying into my anxious overworked brain.
So this takes it to a different level – instead of that, do this approach. I liked it!
The first thing I was told to do was eat a raisin mindfully. Now I get that you suddenly think “Oh my Paula, you have lost the plot” (to be fair that has happened a long time ago lol) but seriously, eating a raisin mindfully is amazing, it doesn’t have to be a raisin it could be a chocolate button or a piece of cheese if you prefer but really eat it and get lost in that moment .
Take the food you want to eat, only a bite size piece though and do the following:
- Place it on your tongue
- Does it have a texture?
- If it does, what does it feel like?
- Move it to the side of your tongue
- Does it feel different on the left or the right?
- Is it sweet or bitter?
- Does it melt and run down your throat?
- Can you chew it or suck it or do both?
- Can you taste other flavors in it maybe you didn’t know it had inside
- Push it to the top of your palate
- Does it feel sticky?
This can take a minute or two to do but here is the magic of this wonderful mindfulness malarkey, whilst you were concentrating on that very task you were NOT thinking of anything else.
You simply concentrated on THAT moment and that is the art of mindfulness at its very best. This can then be taken to an entirely different level in any situation.
How many times a day do we say “I wish this was over“ or “I can’t wait to get home” or my favourite, “I’ll be glad when this is done”. These are all negative thoughts that fill our mind with chatter and lead to bigger issues.
Negative thoughts are habitual and one always leads to another, like it or not. This practice allows a break in those thoughts, it’s like you are the thought controller for a change! By simply living the moment with all the energy you can, it can change the way your mind works over time and allow less and less of those crippling bad energy thoughts coming in.
When a child does something, 9 times out of 10 they simply just jump in and live for that moment. When a dog plays with with a toy, even one it’s had for years, you don’t see it sitting and thinking, I only have 5 minutes left as I have to put the washing out do you now?
If you do, boy you’re lucky and should take a video for us all to share! No no, the dog or child just lives for THAT moment and really gets stuck in.
YOU can do that to even with the washing. YES , even with the washing. Sorting it out, put in piles, do some things need throwing out? Have you noticed the patterns on things, or the lace on a blouse you never even saw? When it’s washed take it and smell it, does it smell like fresh linen or cotton fields, can you hear the drier going, what does it sound like?
Even mundane things like washing up can be done in a mindfulness way.
Fill up the sink, can you smell the fragrance from the washing up liquid – what does that water feel like? Can you feel the softness of the bubbles on your hands? Rub your hands together, how does it feel, and so on and so on and so on.
The list is endless for this topic and some people manage to live their entire life like this.
After a while everything changes, blood pressure is lowered, stress levels go down, heart rate slows and an overall feeling of joy perhaps for some of us returns.
Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. There’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
“It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour,” he says.
“An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs.
“Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment.
“It’s about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives”.
Why don’t you try today to just simply live in this moment? Right here, right now! You never know, you may just like it.
Love as always