It appears to be everywhere you look. There are articles about it and talks on the radio about the power of it, but what really is mindfulness. Well, from what I understand mindfulness means being aware of your surrounding and living for that moment.
After some friends told me about the positive effects that mindfulness had on their daily lives I decided to do a bit of digging to see if it could help me elevate the stresses and strains of modern day life.
My main stresses are that there are never enough hours in the day, so to find time for myself can be hard. When I am not working, there are family things to sort out, housework to do and meals to be made, the list just goes on.
Pay attention to the moment
With very little spare time, I found trying to pay attention to the present moment and concentrating on what I am doing at that exact moment to be hard. I decided that I needed to find just a little time for myself. I have a diary packed with daily tasks, but in that diary, there wasn't any ‘me time’ put aside. I decided that I could spare 15 minutes early in the morning and 15 minutes last thing at night. I put a lot of effort into making time. 30 minutes a day in two 15-minute slots might not sound a lot, but I have found that it really helps, and I look forward to that ‘me time’. I get up that bit earlier and make a little time for myself each evening. After practicing mindfulness for a couple of weeks I started to find just 10-15 minutes first thing in the morning when it was quiet or last thing at night, as this was the best time for me to focus on my thoughts and on what I was doing and thinking at that moment in time. Usually, my mind is focused on what I am about to do or what needs to be done tomorrow, but just finding time to focus on now made me appreciate things in my life more and I have found enjoyment in things that I didn’t think I would.
First thing in the morning I take time out in the garden on a nice day with a cuppa and just enjoy that moment in time. I look at the plants that I am growing and the birds that are attracted to the feeders that I have put up. If you asked me about gardening or looking at wildlife in my garden a month ago I would have laughed and said I hadn’t got time for that. Now my garden is the place where I can have some time to myself and at the end of the day, a relaxing bath with my candles is also a good place to practice some mindfulness techniques.
Mindfulness won’t completely remove stress from your life, but it does help you with managing your emotions and give you time each day to reflect on how you respond to stressful situations and you can have time out to think about how you can respond to them before they arise and escalate.
Practicing mindfulness can help with a variety of things;
Gives you a stronger focus and lets you concentrate more on the present moment
Reduces stresses and anxiety in your life
Gives you time to think and clear your mind
Can help lower your blood pressure
Can help with how you perform at work and with tasks that you are doing
Will give you more self-confidence and boost your and self-esteem
If you are anything like myself, you may find that your mind will drift off and you won’t be in the moment but don’t worry as that’s alright. Just try and gently bring your thoughts back to the moment and appreciate that time that you have.
Over time you will grow to really appreciate the time that you spend practicing your mindfulness techniques, as having some quality time to yourself to appreciate the moment should bring some calm to a busy day. Different people will experience different emotions when practicing mindfulness. Some people become more aware of the situations around them and others will find that they easily become boredom or anxiety.
I would be very interested to hear if anyone else decides to put mindfulness to the test and see if it works for them. If you do, please let me know in the comment box below how you got on and the emotions that you encountered along the way.