A beginner’s guide to mindfulness
The art of mindfulness has been
It is thought to date back to very early teachings of Buddhism and Hinduism.
That being said, practising mindfulness does not have to be attributed to religion. It is a technique that can be practised by everyone.
To start with, lets get the dictionary out and see what that has to say for itself….
– the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.
– a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feeling, and sensations but not judging them.
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The pressures of the modern world
In the modern world, it is safe to say that the majority of us live increasingly fast-paced lives.
The endless tasks that take up our time with work commitments, family, appointments and active social life’s, mean that we are constantly on the go.
Now you could say that life can be as fast paced as you want it to be. However for many people, the option to slow things down a little may seem impossible.
All of this rushing around, fitting in with other
Keeping commitments that you don’t really want to.
Working yourself into the ground not having a spare minute to yourself takes its toll.
You wonder where the day has gone.
It doesn’t feel like 2 minutes since you dropped the kids at school.
Now you’re getting ready to go to bed again so that you can get up and do it all again tomorrow.
How could you find the time for mindfulness?
In today’s rush, we all think too much – seek too much – want too much – and forget about the joy of just being
Life whizzes by… blink and you just might miss it.
Sad isn’t it really, to think that we have been given this amazing opportunity.
To have access to an array of experiences. So many others in the world would give anything to have the chance.
To live a life.
To dream a dream, to touch, taste, see, feel, grow.
I say sad, because when you get into bed and close your eyes, how many moments from your day are just a
How much attention did you really give to your
We tend to dwell on all the moments that went wrong for us.
When we missed the bus, got stuck in traffic ….. late again!
Forgot your child’s PE kit, had an argument with your partner
Imagine if you could get into bed on a night, remember and be mindful of the details from your day.
The little things, that happened which carried you through.
The door that was held open for you.
The parking space that was available.
The smile your loved one gave you.
The song on the radio that brought back a wonderful memory.
These are the moments we live for.
Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the small uncaring ways.
Stephen Vincent Benet
Can you relate to this ?
Here is a prime example of how easy it is to get sucked into the day and miss everything around you.
How many times have you made a specific journey but you have absolutely no recollection of what happened along the way?
It probably happens on a route that you take regularly, but I’m sure you can all relate.
We sit there, traveling on autopilot and arrive at our destination with very little recollection of any detail that we saw.
We have all done it !
For me, it’s the supermarket run.
I get in the car, lose 15 minutes of my life and then arrive at the supermarket.
Now just to be clear I do pay attention to the road.
However, I’m so used to the journey that I hardly notice any other detail.
I’m so used to the journey that my mind becomes numb and I arrive at the supermarket with my brain in autopilot!
When I am a passenger, I am even worse !
Now my husband is the total opposite, he is ON THE BALL! Never misses a thing, a mindful ninja!
A typical car journey goes like this;
Husband: Did you see that car?
Husband: Did you see the hat that guy was
Husband: Oh I like that house, did you see
So I’m sure you catch my drift.
Mindfulness is something that I have needed in my life, but its also a technique I have to work on daily.
Mindfulness is a skill for life. Hell
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I need some mindfulness in my life, I hear you cry !!!!!! but what can I do, how the hell do I be …. mindful ????
Practice mindfulness techniques daily
So without waving a magic wand and ridding the world of all the stresses and strains placed upon us. What can you do to help make each day of your life more memorable ?
BE MINDFUL !
That means taking the time, just 5 minutes here and there to truly be alert in that moment of time.
Your mind is designed to think, that’s a fact.
However, mindfulness allows you to have thoughts but to practice in letting it them go.
The idea is to use this time to focus on the present moment.
It is perfectly natural for your mind to drift off and for you lose yourself in a mind wander, that’s fine.
However, we want to gently brush those thoughts to one side and refocus on the present moment.
How to be mindful?
Here is a great exercise for you to try.
It would be great if you could try this for a week and see how you get on.
Each day, many of you will have to commute to work, travel to college, uni ….
What I would like you to try to do is, to take a mindful journey.
Try this each day for 7 days and I would love to know how you get on!
Be vigilant, it all about noticing what’s happening at each stage of your journey.
The following suggestions are for you to try as you are travelling.
If you are driving, obviously you need to be focusing your full attention on the road!
Perhaps give these ideas a go when its your turn to be a passenger.
The mindful journey challenge
- Look out for animals, wildlife, count how many birds you see on your journey. It doesn’t matter what they are, don’t go into too much detail, it’s just about acknowledging that you have noticed them there.
- Pick a colour, doesn’t matter which. Count how many times you see something in that colour until you arrive at your destination.
- Try to pay attention to different people, notice distinguishing features about them. What are they wearing ? Try to describe them to yourself.
- What buildings are around you ? Is there a specific building in particular that stand out ? Take note of its details.
- When stuck in a traffic jam. Look around you, what can you see ? What vehicles are there ? Are there any loud noises ?
Remember it’s about being in the present moment.
All of this activity around you is happening in the here and now.
It’s about being conscious and vigilant, not living in the past or daydreaming about the future.
Practising these mindful techniques can help to take your mind off any troubles, worries and anxieties you might be feeling.
They can be a great way to deal with stress.
Taking mindfulness to the next level
The aim is that you practice these 5 minute moments throughout your day to make you more alert and aware of what is happening in your life.
The aim is to be able to go to bed at night and think of the small moments that stand out from your day.
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I will be doing another post on more detailed mindfulness excersises for you to try.
So if you have enjoyed this post be sure to pop back and I will update you.
Other mindfulness activities include;
Enjoying a hot drink. Watching the steam rise from the cup. Being aware of the warmth of the cup on your hands. What does your drink taste like ?
Eating your food and savouring your meal. Pick out the flavours you can taste. Take your time to really enjoy and chew each mouthful.
Sit and listen.
What can you hear?
Traffic perhaps, children playing, birds singing?
Remember…. don’t get wrapped up in thoughts about what you’re being mindful about as that will defeat the object of the exercise.
Just acknowledge the thought and move on.
So folks that’s mindfulness in a nutshell for you ! Nothing too complicated.
Please stay tuned for future mindfulness posts. I hope to be writing a more detailed exercise for you to try.
Why not join up to the Gardening Love newsletter so you can keep updated?
I would love to know what your experiences are with mindfulness, please share any thoughts below.
Also if you do take on the Mindful Journey Challenge I would love to know how you found it? Has it made you more alert? Please comment below or get in touch!
Wishing you a mindful day .