Chances are if you’re reading this post, you’re in need of some calm and connectedness in your life. Or, perhaps you’re curious because you’ve heard this term out in the wide world and you’re not sure what it is. You can see the term along with”mindfulness training” popping up everywhere, in magazines such as Preventative Health and Time, and they all do a decent job of explaining what it is.
This is MY quick definition- it’s a practice of focusing on the here and now and being quite present in the moment, without judgment ( analyzing) and must be practiced in order to achieve greater connectedness, happiness and calm. Boom!
And who couldn’t use more calm and focus in today’s hyper-driven universe?
I was recently explaining ( yet again) to someone, how I am so busy since I have retired. And I’m not kidding.
In my pre-retirement, I juggled 6 kids, a full-time job, a dog, a home with laundry that would blow your mind ( think 6 kids), meals and all the extra-curricular pursuits my kids were involved with, which included me driving them to and fro as well as sitting in on every piano and voice lesson for 15 years! There was also hockey, tai-kwon-do…the list goes on and on…I’m tired thinking about it.
However, I now have time on my side…in theory anyway. I could CHOOSE to have all day every day and do nothing which would accentuate the time I have or fill it up with creative and personal pursuits therefore trying to find more time to fit in all that I want to do, which happens to be the case. Of course this is a lovely predicament to be in and I am not complaining. But throughout the day, when I don’t accomplish as much as I thought I might, I find occasion to need deep breathing and some relaxation techniques. And if I need this NOW, then I certainly could have benefitted from it when my kids were young. Oh well…
Enter the universe.
I have been besieged with the word Mindfulness everywhere in the last few weeks. No matter where I go, I have seen it on magazine covers, in bookstores, overhearing it in conversation and on Best Apps. I even found a workbook produced by my favourite new magazine-FLOW. The entire concept is almost hitting me over the head lately, and so as I believe there are no coincidences, I have decided that it’s time to listen.
The danger of feeling like you’re in a hurry is that it creates a sense of urgency, the result of which is where sitting still for a moment and thinking quietly are no longer instinctive, logical choices.- Max Wildschut
Some quick tips about finding time that I read about if you’re in the mind for fullness…..
- Seize the day-promise yourself to do things each day that energize and inspire you-even one thing.
- Take a break-remember to take a break and ask yourself if what you’re doing is really necessary.
- Switch off- no social media or TV for a week…You’ll be surprised at how much time you can create by doing this.
- Enjoy Delays- When you’re waiting for something, a train, a doctor’s appointment-do a mini-meditation of fantasize about something.
- Reflect -build this into your day. Amazing creative thoughts arise when we look back at our choices.
Finding even a bit of time each day is first. Then starting some foundational meditating practice is second.
I am trying out some meditation techniques in order to focus my attention and stay in the NOW and with practice it can influence parts of the brain that regulate emotions, awareness and memory-something I could definitely use. It’s baby steps thus far but time will tell. These tips from FLOW are;
- Start small-Take 5 min daily and don’t make this a chore.
- Just sit-Find a quiet place, turn off ringers, and sit comfortably on a chair.
- Breathe-Focus on this and pay attention to your inhale, your chest rise and fall. You may want to add counting in and out to help focus.
- Let thoughts come and go. You’ll get distracted for sure but gently bring your thoughts back to the breath.
- Focus on the feet in everyday situations-By focusing on one thing like your feet and how they feel you gently calm yourself down.
- There is plenty of apps to help, some with music, some podcasts and also listening to a voice guide you through a short meditation. I like Headspace and Mindfulness found in the App store.
This 3 minute Breathing Space poster and a Mindfulness journal are good first steps on this journey…that and a small cup of tea each day may be just the ticket!