There are many definitions for mindfulness, the Oxford Dictionary describes it as ‘a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.’
My favourite definition is…finding peace in a frantic world.
Taking time out for ourselves is important. It can be just two minutes once or twice a day or a few times a week, everyone is different but the fact of the matter is, it works and it really can change how we live our lives. There are also different ways to practice mindfulness. It could be through guided meditation by merely relaxing into a comfy sofa, listening to an app or youtube video through earphones (the best way to cut out background noise) or just taking time to sit and focus on your breathing unaided to clear your mind. Even fitness trackers such as the FitBit Charge 2 have added a cool function to help you relax by helping to focus on your breathing, guiding with vibrations over a two or five minute period. I have to say this has saved my ass a few times when the temptation to react has been too great!
There is a perception that mindfulness means sitting cross-legged on the floor, chanting or humming surrounded by incense. Of course this is an option if it works for you, but the whole concept of mindfulness is about finding a way to refocus, relax and carry you back into the present moment. It doesn’t really matter how it happens. Life can chuck so many challenges our way. People, events and words can make us worry or even angry. We then start internalising our thoughts or maybe externalising them which could potentially impact others and so the knock on effect begins. We are all humans with feelings and we learn to deal with them but it’s how we deal with them which is important. Things happen, peoples’ words and actions can hurt, feelings can be unpleasant and we feel we don’t deserve to feel that way. That’s when the negative and painful thoughts come flooding in.
Mindfulness helps us take a step back, instilling tranquility to help us realise that those consuming thoughts are just simply events which actually don’t have any control over us.
It is surprising just how many people practice mindfulness. Is it a fad, a trend or really is there something to it?
My mindfulness journey began when I lived in Singapore. Things at the time were tough, slightly troublesome and I wasn’t finding it easy. I was looking for something, anything, to help lift what I felt was the world’s problems off my shoulders. My friends were absolutely awesome at the time but you know when you are on your own like going to bed or when you first wake in the morning and boom, that punch in the stomach-sick feeling attacks? I needed something to remove that and fast. I was kinda living in the past mulling things over but I was more worried about the future. I had lost my way a little, I felt I had lost who I was and couldn’t think what my goals and dreams were. That’s when one of my friends introduced me to The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and I have never looked back, it has changed my life.
The Secret asks a question, “What is it you really want? Write it out on a piece of paper by saying I am happy and grateful because…”
Just this one action transformed my life. I started looking around me and asking myself where was I in that present moment. Yes I was on the other side of the world to friends and family but oh my god I lived in a tropical country, I lived where there are palm trees! I had a beautiful apartment, a turtle called Chai (I always wanted a turtle), an amazing bunch of friends, I lived in flip-flops, I was fit and healthy, I exercised every day and my asthma was the best it had ever been. It was a realisation, just how bloody lucky was I?
This was a simple but such an effective exercise to do and I quickly realised that this didn’t have to just apply to the current situation I was in, it can be applied at any time. It’s about taking a moment to expel negative thinking, steady your breathing, re-focus and just well, be still. I think this is something we struggle to do nowadays as we rush around from one meeting to the next, hurry to catch the tube, be on time for the next gym class and keep checking what’s next on the to-do list. Multi-tasking is also something we are all probably guilty of, I know I am. I eat lunch at my desk whilst replying to WhatsApp, work and blog emails, I am also checking Instagram, then scheduling my fortnightly blog posts and keeping up to date with LinkedIn. What I should be doing is just enjoying each mouthful of my lunch, and not at my desk.
HOW CAN MINDFULNESS BENEFIT YOU?
- You are immediately aware of your surroundings, hearing things you probably didn’t hear previously, you savour the present moment
- It’s calming and allows you to take a step back reassessing any situation you are in
- You have the ability to let go of things you can’t change
- You welcome more peace and quiet in to your life
- Your creativity will blossom
- It helps reduce anxiety and stress
- Sayonara to insomnia, you will sleep better!
I have tried so many different types of mindfulness to find the right method for me. I am easily distracted so I most definitely need guided meditation to prevent my thoughts from running away with me. I have downloaded, tried and then deleted heaps of apps but here are the ones which work for me:
- Take A Break
- The Secret (the movie version is awesome and you can listen to it on the go)
So back to the original question, is mindfulness all that? I believe so, what do you think?
So hey you, yes you..I want to thank you for reading my post. Whether you’ve stuck around since the beginning of my journey or whether you’re new to my blog, thank you for reading and supporting. I genuinely appreciate it.