Last week was World Mental Health day, and this week we're taking a look at just how being mindful could help you, even on your commute home from work...
Practicing mindfulness can be beneficial to people with poor mental health, in dealing with stress, panic attacks and emotional pain. In fact, it can be used by anyone to simply enrich their life, to expand their capacity to live and love, to deal with life's ups and downs in a clear and calm manner and to reduce physical pain.
That's exactly why athletes are adopting mindfulness in elite sport, it's the perfect mental framework to manage injury and to reframe something that hasn't gone to plan. Modern mindfulness offers an easy way to take control of your life for the better. Focusing on simple breathing techniques, meditation tips and relaxation methods, mindfulness will improve your concentration and help you achieve a greater sense of wellbeing.
By adopting our own form of the ancient Buddhist practices of mindfulness and meditation, we can learn to pay attention to our daily experience and become more contented and fulfilled by daily activities. Many of us find it difficult to simply appreciate the present moment. We either dwell on the past or worry about the future, moving mindlessly from one activity to the next.
MINDFUL or MINDLESS
When we are not being mindful, we miss out on small moments that are often incredibly valuable - be it a beautiful park that we walk through on our journey to work or the taste and texture of a delicious meal. In mindfulness meditation we pay attention to our ongoing experience whether it is pleasant - such as appreciating a beautiful sunny day; unpleasant - a disagreement with a loved one; or neutral - doing chores. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on the moment and, without judgment, observing all aspects of the world around you as well as your thoughts, feelings and reactions.
Though this sounds so simple, it's actually completely different from the way most of us live our lives. It is in stark contrast to being absent-minded or being overwhelmed by thoughts of what we need to do, what has happened in our past, or what we should have done. We become anxious and afraid and we feel like life is slipping away. We are busy making plans for the future without awareness of the present. We hurry and worry and we're afraid to slow down. But by living this way, we miss the actual life we are living and are more prone to stress & anxiety.
So this week why not see if you can slow down and notice the now - what does your breath tell you? Are you tense, stressed or too busy? SLOW DOWN and make your Monday a little more mindful...