Yesterday I attended an introductory session all about ‘Mindfulness’ and as promised in my last post, I thought I’d share with you what I learnt, without sounding airy fairy.
What is Mindfulness?
To be mindful means to be in the present moment, emerging yourself in the now and not worrying about the past and future. For example: when you’re having your morning shower are you already stressing about the day ahead of you? Thinking “oh my god I forgot to send that very important email to that very important person about that very important meeting about that very important subject?!” or “in order to be on track with everything today I need to do this, this, this AND this and oh I need to make sure I ring my Nan at some point in between all of those this’.” If that sounds like you every morning then you’ll already be stressed before your day has even begun!
Instead clear your mind and think about what you’re doing right at that moment. Listen to the sound of the water splashing, concentrate on the sensation of the water on your skin and take in the scent of that brand new shampoo you’ve just treated yourself to. Doing this will allow you to actually enjoy your shower and will replace the stressy vibes with a feeling of being refreshed and energised; so you’re ready to conquer the world!
There lots and lots of exercises you can do to clear your mind and focus on the world around you. I am in no way saying that I’m an expert after one taster session, but there is one exercise in particular that I actually think works for me! WARNING: you may feel extremely silly doing this, I recommend doing it in private and not in a large group like I did and giggled the whole time!
So here goes (bear with me if you think it sounds stupid, you’ve just got to go with it):
- Find yourself a quiet place and take a seat (don’t slouch – apparently it’s not good for your centre or something along those lines – I told you I’m not an expert)
- Close your eyes
- Concentrate on your breathing, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Acknowledge the sensation of the air passing through your nostrils and then out of your mouth.
- Then move your attention to your feet and slowly move that attention up your body, until you reach your head. When I do this my whole body seems to really relax and kind of feels heavy! It even makes me feel a little wobbly in a good way!
You’ve got to make sure you don’t start thinking about anything else. If any thoughts do enter your head, make sure you acknowledge them and then let them go and revert your attention back to the area of the body you was concentrating on.
- Once you’ve reached your head, start concentrating on your breathing again for 3 more deep breaths
- AND OPEN YOUR EYES (you’re back in the room!)
The few times I’ve done this I genuinely feel less stressed and feel more motivated to get on with something… like seriously! I even did it on the loo at work today (hmmm maybe that was too much information).
Apologies if that explanation wasn’t the best, if you’d like professional, expert guidance visit http://www.bemindfulonline.com/
2 really good apps that guide you to become more Mindful are:
- Headspace – this provides you with proven mindfulness techniques to show you how to treat your mind! The main feature of the app is: the Take10 programme, which will teach you the basics of becoming mindful in just 10 minutes a day. Best of all the app is FREE!
- Mindfulness Daily – this app states to guide you through quick, effective practices which will reduce stress and improve your performance and sleep pattern! It even gives you reminders to breathe (mindfully obviously, I’d hope you’d remember to breathe without an iPhone alert). This App is rated 5/5 and costs £1.49.
From now on I’m going to practice mindfulness to stop being a stress ‘ead and worrier! Do any of you think that using the mindful techniques will help you in your everyday life? Does stress and worry effect your productivity? Let me know what you think!