Mindfulness is something I have recently become very interested in, so much so that I have signed up for an online class to learn techniques to enable me practice Mindfulness in my daily life.
Life for most people is a hectic juggling act of work, study, family, friends, and the general stresses and worries that seem to go hand in hand with 21st Century life. At one point or another I’m sure most of us have tossed and turned at night stressing about money, relationships, body image, job security… The list goes on and there never seems to be a spare moment to deal with the issues or the voice in your head that is constantly chattering away in the background. Throughout different stages of my life I’ve dealt with most of these issues, and some of them still worry me from time to time now.
When I lived in Scotland I just got on with things, assuming this was the way things were but when I moved to Saudi Arabia I met a lot of people with different views. In particular I met people with an interest in Reiki and QHHT (Quantum Healing Hypnosis Therapy), both of these practices lead me to feel more open to new possibilities. Whilst reading more on these subjects I kept coming across mindfulness and it made so much sense to me.
After almost a year of reading and appointments for both Reiki and QHHT I feel much calmer and balanced and I feel that my worries aren’t quite so worrisome. I kept coming back to Mindfulness though and a dossier on the subject in the UK Psychologies magazine made me want to know more so, based on an interview with Michael Acton-Smith in the magazine, I purchased his book ‘Calm’. This book was a revelation, it’s very easy to read and just a beautiful book – I read it in one day and would highly recommend it if you want to read more on the subject.
The main takeaway from the book for me was that Mindfulness doesn’t need to be time consuming. It’s true that you can gain a lot from taking 30 minutes to an hour out of your day to practice Mindfulness, whether a meditation, body scan or eating mindfully and this is a big feature in the course I am doing – I find it really beneficial to do this after work. I lie down on my bed and do the body scan, connecting mindfully to my body, noticing how it feels, from my toes to the top of my head. At night I will often listen to a mindfulness meditation on You Tube as I drift off to sleep. However, I can imagine some people thinking ‘A whole hour?’ and the point is you don’t really need a whole hour. As Michael Acton-Smith says in Calm, even 5 minutes of true mindfulness can be enough to focus your mind. This can be particularly useful for stressful periods at work, or when you feel anxious about something such as a job interview, or knowing you have to deal with people you find difficult.
Simply find somewhere quite for 5 minutes, focus on your breathing, notice how you feel. If you find your mind wandering and going back to what is worrying you, gently acknowledge the thought and let it go, bringing your attention back to your body and your breath.
It’s also beneficial to reconnect with nature so if you can spend some time outdoors in a park, a beach, near a lake or river this will also help to sooth your mind and aid relaxation. Walking on the beach when I lived in Scotland was always my ‘go to’ when I felt overwhelmed and I would always return home feeling much better.
Mindfulness has made a huge difference in my life, I’m enjoying my daily practice and look forward to the day when I gain my qualifications and can use what I learn to help others. In the meantime, I hope the tips I’ve included here are useful.
Do you practice Mindfulness regularly? How does it help in your daily life? Please feel free to comment below.