The Practice of Mindfulness
There’s something about being mindful (100% engaged in what you're doing) in the moment at every instance that takes you out of your head and into reality. The very moment you realise you have travelled to your head and away from the present is an opportunity to come back to centre.
"The moment you realize you’ve been distracted is the magic moment. It’s a chance to be really different, to try a new response. Rather than tell yourself you’re weak or undisciplined, or give up in frustration, simply let go and begin again. In fact, instead of chastising yourself, you might thank yourself for recognizing that you’ve been distracted, and for returning to your breath. This act of beginning again is the essential art of the meditation practice."-Sharon Salzberg
What does the seat you're sitting on feel like? What sounds can you hear? What does the breeze feel like as it brushes your face? What does it really taste like the coffee your sipping?
For too long I’ve been caught up in my own head! A classic over-thinker and analyzer. Mindfulness and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment therapy) which was introduced to me by a psychologist has been super helpful. Coming back to the present moment and becoming curious, rather than hooking the mind to unhelpful thoughts or ruminating over thoughts. When caught in the mind its easy to judge things, thoughts, people and behaviours.
When this happens it signals to me to get into the moment, connect with the environment and with the body or to others.
Mindfulness to me is the experience of ‘seeing things for the first time’ as if you’ve never experienced them before! A heightened awareness of sensations and a clear ability to ‘feel’. This ultimately makes me feel calm, have clarity, feel less stressed and in turn happier.
Some Mindfulness techniques I use are:
1. Body Scan-scanning your body from head to toe and being aware of any discomfort, feelings or sensations, or aches that exist. Acknowledge you see and feel them and then breathe into that area before continuing to scan.
2.Breath Work-Simply observe and put your attention onto your breath. The rise and fall of your chest and the sensations of air going in and out of your nose or mouth. When your thoughts drift simply bring your awareness back to the breath.
3. Environmental Awareness-name 5 things you can hear, see, feel , touch or taste. This is about using the senses to ground and root you into your present space. Feel supported by what your sitting or standing or lying on. This naming of sensations, objects, sounds brings your attention completely into the 'now'.