There are so many articles and posts around about mindfulness and how it can help you that it can almost feel overwhelming. Our inner critics can get really busy telling us how rubbish we are for not doing enough mindfulness but it can feel impossible to fit it into an already busy day. We then feel bad about ourselves for not being mindful enough! Does this feel familiar?
The fact is that mindfulness just means being present. It means being here, with what you are feeling, seeing, doing right now. It’s also about not fretting about something that happened yesterday or worrying about what you need to be doing next. It means not panicking about what you need to do tomorrow or next week, or your money worries, or health issues or anything else. Just be you, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.
Sounds easy? No? Try these ideas for bringing a little bit of mindfulness into your day.
Whether you are walking to school, for the bus, to the shops, to a meeting, to meet a new client; just take 5-10 seconds to look around you. Find something to focus on; whether it is flowers, birds or a plant; a passing car and an unusual number plate; or some strange marks on the paintwork in the corridor at work. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just focus on whatever it is you can see. Look at the small details, be curious about it and let it fill your mind.
The morning or evening routine with small children can be very stressful. Time pressures and tired or hungry children combined with your own need to get on and do everything else on your list can lead to increased anxiety, stress and bad behaviour for both the adult and the child! If you find this happening take a few seconds to focus on something you can feel; their hair as you are brushing it, their hand as you are holding it, their skin if you are holding them. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just focus on the feel of it and let that feeling bring you back into the moment. It will ground you and let you focus on the present.
If you are faced with a stressful day or event, such as a presentation, your anxiety levels can rise, your breaths can get shorter, your responses to people and demands can become less productive and a downward spiral can start. If you sense this happening, then look around you and pick up something that you can hold comfortably. A shaped stress ball is perfect, or an item of stationery such as a pen. Take 5-10 seconds to hold it and move it around in your hand. Focus totally on the object, on how it feels, the different shapes and textures. Try and breathe calmly and gently.
Bringing mindfulness into your life will help you stay in control and give you some breathing space. It really only needs 5-10 seconds to break a negative thought pattern and bring you back into the present. The more you practise it, the easier it becomes and the more benefits you will feel.
If you are constantly feeling overwhelmed by your life and its demands on you then please get in contact.