In today’s frenetic, time-restricted modern world, cultivating a practice of mindfulness in everyday day life can help to minimise needless stress and anxiety, writes Lisa de Silva
As a simple and effective way to take time out from the rest of the world, mindfulness is one of our most powerful allies. To help you reap its benefits, we take a closer look.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is a type of meditation which brings your attention into the present moment. Often our minds get fixated on past hurts or obsess on future scenarios, leading to increased stress and anxiety.
By contrast, mindfulness is about becoming intensely aware of all you are sensing and feeling in that very moment. It is about being fully present in what we are doing or feeling and the sensations this provokes in our body. In this regard, mindful meditation starts and ends with the body and not the mind. Think of it as ‘Time Out’ from a busy day or a chattering mind.
THE MAIN ELEMENTS OF MINDFULNESS INCLUDE
- Heightened awareness and focus on what you are doing by using your senses – what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, touching or tasting in that moment
- Not judging or reacting, simply accepting these sensations
- Breathing into these sensations to bring a sense of calm and relaxation
EXAMPLES OF MINDFULNESS
All humans have the capacity to be mindful and fully present – we do not need to change who we are or to adopt a specific belief system. The following examples will help you to see the ease and simplicity of mindfulness.
- Imagine you are sitting in the sunshine, feel and focus on the power of the sun’s rays warming your body. How does it make your body feel? Breathe into these sensations to help relax and calm yourself.
- Imagine you are drinking a glass of iced cold water on a hot day. Focus on the coolness of the glass in your hand, watch how the liquid moves in the glass, listen to the chink of ice cubes, focus on the sensations of the cold liquid as it travels down your throat, cooling your body. Breathe into these sensations to bring a sense of calm.
DEVELOPING A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE
While we all have the ability to be mindful, to really benefit we need to develop a regular practice. Try to incorporate mindfulness into your lifestyle, by simply focusing on one thing at a time during your day and bringing real awareness to everyday tasks.
More specifically, there are three main ways to achieve this:
- Setting aside a specific time to be mindful
- Taking short mindful breaks throughout our day
- Link mindfulness with specific activities such as eating breakfast, cleaning our teeth, walking or sport