Mindfulness or mind-numbingly boring?!

Mindfulness is everywhere nowadays, it seems to be the catch-all remedy to life’s ups and downs, the centre-spread of every health and beauty magazine and the thing that will fix your stress now!   

However, it often feels like one of the most difficult tools to master, especially if you’re just ‘not wired that way’.  I have come across many people who have groaned and irked when I’ve mentioned mindfulness as a tool, but on further exploration I believe they’re getting their mindfulness mixed up with their meditation – I get it, all the m’s! 

Traditional meditation  is a practice that involves transforming the mind to think with greater clarity, purpose and concentration, sometimes clearing the mind to achieve that clarity.  We might think of meditation as sitting still and focusing quietly, which can turn many of us away if we struggle with being still, but in mindfulness there is no requirement to sit still, in fact experts suggest that getting out and about, especially into nature can be the best form of mindfulness (Djernis et al., 2019).  

Traditional mindfulness is based upon the practice of being aware; aware of who we are, where we are and what we’re feeling, without being overly reactive or overwhelmed by this awareness.  In mindfulness we try to: 

  • Pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them 
  • Be FULLY present  
  • Be IN the moment 

I have come to realise that mindfulness is a state of awareness and can be incorporated into everyday life – when we’re on the move or doing our regular activities.  

What mindfulness prompts us to think about is: 

  • What am I feeling? 
  • What can I smell? 
  • What can I hear right now? 
  • What can I touch?  

Here are some examples: 

When you’re showering, cleaning, walking, riding a bike, gardening etc. have a think about what you can sense in/on your body when you’re doing these things; can you feel the warm water on your back?  What does it feel like?  Can you feel the ground beneath your feet as you walk/run, what are the sensations for you in your body?  Can you smell the flowers in the garden, stop, enjoy it, acknowledge it! 

When we do these things regularly, we will notice a change in our perception, we become aware of the small things, which in turn is the start of creating new neural pathways that leads to more positive thoughts, emotions and clarity.   

If you’re keen to start using mindfulness in your life, start with what you’re already doing and just become AWARE, before you know it you could have mastered this art of mindfulness without even trying!  Good luck! 

Ever considered how mindful you are in your daily life?  An online questionnaire can help you reflect on just that https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/mindfulness  





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