This article first appeared on www.abiandjoseph.com and was written by Jemma Newcombe, Founder of three clouds yoga.
Mindfulness seems to be the buzzword right now. It was brought into Western culture as a means to combat the never ending flow of information, stimulation and stressors of life. We all have our own stressors; whether it be parenting, running a small business or running a multi-national company. Mindfulness is for everyone and can be practiced anywhere anytime.
There are even apps for it. Smiling Minds is a popular app offering modern meditation and mindfulness exercises for children, teens and adults developed by Australian psychologists. Headspace is another good one.
Business is also embracing mindfulness with many now claiming to see absenteeism falling, productivity rising and business improving as a result of mindfulness.
WHAT’S THE USE OF BEING MINDFUL?
It helps us focus on the present moment; being aware of only what is happening to us right now. This includes being mindful of what we do, feel, see, hear, touch, smell and taste. This helps to reduce our stress levels because we’re not thinking about what we did in the past or what we might do in the future.
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment – the now. The now is all that we have. The past is gone and the future is yet to arrive. We all know that thinking about the past won’t change it or thinking about the future will not impact what happens.
This is different to planning for the future; which of course is necessary. We just need to be mindful whilst we do it!
WAYS TO BE MINDFUL EVERYDAY
Here are my 5 ways for you to practice being mindful – before arriving at the office.
1. Wash mindfully
Notice the feeling of the water on your skin. The temperature, the force of the water and how your skin moves from dry to wet. Observe the way the soap covers your body, the smell of the soap and how it feels on your skin. Listen to the sounds of the water splashing and the overhead fan whirring.
2. Eat mindfully
As you sit and eat your breakfast observe what is happening. The motion of your hand moving back and forth to your mouth as you take a mouthful of food. The texture and taste as it enters your mouth, the chewing motion of your teeth, the way the texture of the food changes as you slowly chew and finally swallow.
3. Walk mindfully
Notice your body as you walk. The sway of your hips, the motion of your knee and ankle joints. The way your feet touch the ground; the way your underfoot followed by your heel presses down with each step. Pretend each foot step is a kiss on the earth.
4. Drive mindfully
Sit up straight in your seat feeling your spine lengthen and feel your buttocks sink down onto the seat. As you hold the steering wheel with both hands, feel your skin touching the texture of the steering wheel and the sensation as the wheel slides through your hands.
Use stopping at a red light as a trigger to observe your breathing. Breathe normally through your nostrils noticing the gentle rise and fall of your belly.
5. Catch the bus or train mindfully
Check in with your neck and shoulders and notice whether they have become tense during your commute. If you are standing, try and keep your weight even on both feet as well as between your heels and toes. Feel all four ‘points’ of your foot sinking onto the floor.
If you are reading or listening to music, take a short break between chapters or songs to become aware of your breathing. Breathe normally through your nostrils noticing the gentle rise and fall of your belly. If you can, look out of the window as if you were seeing the scenery for the first time.
Mindful in May
This month is all about being mindful. If you can sit still for ten minutes you can help raise money for this important cause.