Many people think of mindfulness as the process of meditating for hours, but that’s not what it is all about. Mindfulness can be the simple process of stopping and looking at the sky for a few moments, or taking the time to deep breath for a minute. Mindfulness is about being “in the moment”. As humans, we spend so much time worrying about the future and the past, it can feel completely foreign to just pay attention to the here and now. You may feel as if you couldn’t possibly be mindful, that your life is simply too busy, too overwhelming and too much. That’s often when we need the time spent on ourselves the most.
The art of mindfulness is learnt with taking the first step. By practising in small bursts at random times, we begin to build the foundations for a more present life. We’ve all been in the position where we feel like we haven’t engaged in the conversation we’ve just been having because our mind feels like a tumble dryer, so many thoughts getting thrown around. How much better would the people we engage with feel if they can see that we are able to be truly present with them when they talk? Mindfulness helps you be present with any activity you are undertaking.
Some basic mindfulness tactics to try include taking deep belly breaths for one minute, sitting still for three minutes paying attention to the sounds and smells around you, or quietly contemplating nature for five minutes. For those of you who really feel that you could benefit from more mindful living, there are a number of apps that guide you through the process. Smiling Mind is a great app that has age specific lessons for mindfulness. This is a fantastic tool to use for our children, as it teaches them to become connected with their feelings, emotions and thoughts and begin to see them for what they are, fleeting moments that will be gone. It is a wonderful resource for self-regulation as well and has been found to be effective to help lots of people in becoming more calm and better able to manage difficulties when they arise.
Try it today, see what happens when you just stop for one minute and pay attention to your body, your thoughts and your feelings. Sift through each one, acknowledge it, and then move it on. Our thoughts do not define us, our actions do. Just because you have a thought that you are going to fail, doesn’t mean you will.