It’s being in touch with, like, your inner self, or something? Whatever it is, it’s a quick and fool proof way to clear your mind and look after yourself for a change. Mindfulness is the new buzzword for self-care, and why wouldn’t it be?
Mindfulness is all about being a part of the present; we know what’s going on inside, and outside of ourselves, at that moment in time. The fact is, it’s easy to get caught up in stress, leaving our minds out of touch with the present moment, as well as our bodies. And when we get caught up in our heads, we fail to effectively process our emotions because we simply can’t escape them.
Through this easy and effective technique, you can reconnect with your body, and the feelings that come with it. You become aware of the thoughts that you’ve been letting take control. The truth is, we all have mindfulness within us, however deep it may be buried – yep, it’s in there somewhere, trust me.
And that’s exactly what it is all about: you. Meditation – which is closely linked to mindfulness – is about exploring yourself. You can test the techniques, and trial the apps which promise freedom from stress, and do all the deep breathing your lungs can muster, but being mindful is all about you. It’s about your mind, and your body.
Why you should be practicing mindfulness
When we become aware of the present moment, we can enjoy the world around us that much more. We take the time to appreciate the good things in life – the sunrise whilst waiting for the already late bus, the sound of the rain when we’ve forgotten our umbrella – and there is no shortage of positive vibes to take from that.
Also, if we can tap into the feelings and emotions that contain us when we are stressed, we can process them more effectively, and see beyond the tangle of anxiety. Enter clarity and freedom, even if it is for just a few minutes.
When we see these emotions, we can begin to notice the patterns that seem to plague us. Only this way can mindfulness take note of the thoughts that love to control us. But that’s what they are; they are thoughts, and we can see beyond them.
Mindfulness is by far the most effective method for seeing past the sulking, and sadness that fills our minds. Getting caught up in our thoughts is all to easy, but learning to cope and move on from them is too.
How to practice mindfulness
If you aren’t a yoga pro, or aren’t even sure how to spell mindfulness, let alone how to practice it, there are some easy techniques to get you started.
First up, just learn to notice the world around you, whether your focusing on the taste of your rather sad looking sandwich, or the feeling of the brisk wind on our faces in the morning (even if it is messing up our hair). When we go through the motions, and click onto autopilot, even the simplest things can bring us back to the present. Just look around; mindfulness is never too far away.
If you’re in need of swapping out the motions, and just want to feel alive again, try something new. It might be as small as changing up that sad looking sandwich, or turning up to a painting class, or booking a weekend away. When we do things different, we notice it; we experience the world around us, and become in-touch with ourselves as much as the new environment we engaging with.
And when it comes to practicing this mindfulness – whatever you choose to do – make sure it’s a regular affair. You might opt for a morning session, that is if you can pull yourself out of bed. Or you might get your self-care on after you’ve headed home from work. This way you can detangle the knots from your 9 to 5.
But if you’re still struggling to see the wonder in the world, here’s the most common way to get mindful: find a quiet place, sit down, and just pay attention to your thoughts and your breathing. By focusing on the sound and sensation of every inhale, and every exhale, you can bring back the attention to your body.
Learning to watch our thoughts, and watch them clearly – that means not letting them bubble away in your mind – is the key to finding the mindfulness we seek. Refocus, and relax. You can be in control. And that control is only a few deep breathes away.