Okay so we hear a lot about mindfulness these days and how it’s great for reducing anxiety, combating stress and increasing effectiveness. Sounds great right? I don’t know about you but whenever I start to read up on this subject I become slightly overwhelmed…visions of deep meditation during those quiet moments of the day (what’s that then?) and complicated breathing exercises/yoga/clean living – the list goes on – which brings the need for mindfulness in even more!
So, here is my practiced and researched version of mindfulness in 5 easy steps for those of us who want to reap the rewards without the leg work.
- Stop and watch.
I like to think of this as seeing myself on the Big Brother House – what am I doing to the outside eye, am I behaving erratically, stressing, shouting, being needy, projecting my stress on others? Once you remove yourself from your emotion and become the watcher you are instantly gifted with the vision of perspective. Works for me. Instant check on myself and often turns an argument with the other half around before it has even begun.
If you want instant mindfulness focus on your breath and make the exhalations the same length as the inhalations – you will instantly gain a feeling of control because guess what – you can control your breath. Continue this until the anxiety or stress you felt is lessened. Do it anytime, anywhere.
If you want to be able to focus on the task in hand or your life in general you must start with something really small to attune your mind and cut through any emotional stress you’re carrying physically. So – look around you, find something to look at. I am looking at my keyboard now. Think of what that thing is and why it is that. What is it made of, what is it used for? What do I notice about it? Just ponder for a few minutes on the entire being of that one little thing and you will basically pave the way for being able to focus on anything else you need to do that day. Repeat when necessary.
- Drop the bags
Like you do with the shopping once you’ve come through the door – drop the bags of to-do lists/worries/fears you have. Imagine the bags dropping to the floor and give your shoulders a shake. They have been heavy! Now, bit by bit delve into the bags and deal with one thing at a time. Frozen food comes out first of course before it defrosts so likewise prioritise your list of troubles and deal one by one.
I really feel that consistently saying an inward thank you to all the little blessings in our day is a great way to stay mindful and not to get embroiled in life’s stresses. Being thankful and appreciative of our food, hot water, cars and the myriad things we take for granted is a wonderful way to stay present.
Stay Mindful People!