I’m busy, you’re busy - we are all very busy in our everyday lives. But what happens when you give in to the busy-ness of life and forget to step back and reflect sometimes? This is where it’s good to be mindful. We asked some experts about mindfulness to help you bring it into your life.
What does it mean to be mindful?
Wellness coach and author Lulu Cook has written a chapter on mindfulness and articles on mindful eating for popular magazines. We asked her to help us define mindfulness.
“Mindfulness refers to the intentional practice of directing our attention to what is happening in the present moment. When we are practicing mindfulness, we aim to refrain from the typical mental chatter, judgements, and negative thinking that often distract us, while being aware of what is happening in our body and senses. Mindfulness is an awareness of what is going on in the present moment without necessarily trying to force ourselves to focus on one thing in particular, while meditation directs attention in a more concentrated way. Whilst there is some overlap between these approaches and many different techniques for each, there is no single "right way" to do it - try it out and see what works best for you.”
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How should you practice mindfulness?
Brodie Rees is a certified yoga teacher, lululemon ambassador and the owner of Temple Yoga & Retreats. She believes you can achieve mindfulness in your everyday life just by practicing your concentration.
“You don't have to head off to a cave in the himalayas to practice mindfulness, in your everyday life you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and give it your fullest attention. For example, when you're doing the dishes at night pay close attention to every movement, what your breath is doing, pay attention to all the senses, the smells, the textures, the feel of the water...be totally present.”
Brodie has another blog on the benefits of meditation which you can find here.
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Meditation for better sleep
In our fast paced world a common concern for most adults is tiredness and fatigue. It has been proven that practicing mindful meditation a few hours a week will reduce insomnia, fatigue and even depression. If you’re the kind of person who struggles to shut off your brain at bedtime then give some meditation a try. Sit up straight against a cushioned headboard for support and cross your legs. Close your eyes and take some long deep breaths; breathing in through your nose and pushing the air out through your mouth to release tension. As you relax let your mind wander and feel your body get heavy ready to sleep. Now snuggle into your soft sheets and enjoy a good night’s rest!
Other examples and benefits to you
Alison Nancye has authored 10 books about mindfulness and is a regular speaker on the topic as well. Here she offers an activity to practice mindfulness yourself and why it’s good for you.
“This can happen in the smallest of ways and with a small investment in time. For example, when you get out of bed in the morning, instead of reaching for your technology or going into the mode of ‘how do I need to serve other people today?’ whether it be in work or family responsibilities, simply focus on putting one bare foot and then another bare foot onto the ground next to your bed and feel the sensation of your bare skin on the floor. Notice the sensation reflected in whether your floor is carpeted, or lined with floorboards, tiles or another surface, Then, take one observant step in front of the other as you move through your home to your next task.
To not practice mindfulness in today’s busy, technology drive world is like not giving yourself permission to eat healthy food, drink regular water and get enough sleep. Mindfulness will regulate your breathing and heart rate, enabling you to manage stress levels and maintain a moderate and even level of calm throughout any given day. It will also allow you to respond, rather than react to situations as they arise, and it will also allow you to have a greater perspective of your life overall.”
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From reducing stress to improving sleep there’s so many reasons to be mindful. And it’s really not as hard as people think.