We live in a wired world. Whether it's answering texts or calls, struggling to meet the demands of others or at a stage where everything we once knew seems to have changed. Life can feel stressed and rushed and if we're not careful we end up feeling exhausted and constantly ‘on.’
Mindfulness offers us a way to step off the hamster wheel, tame the monkey mind and keep ourselves balanced as we go about our everyday life.
Instead of running on automatic pilot, feeling our body is in one place (the car) and our mind in another (next week) and we are loosing ourselves in the struggle, we reconnect with ourselves and we begin again in each moment more renewed, revitalised and often with a fresh perspective.
How does this happen? With the formal and informal practices. Formal Practice is taking some time out to be still and quiet and as we do we come to know ourselves more deeply. This is our Mindfulness Meditation. Informal practice is leaning to be mindful in your everyday routine. There are some tips below and I recommend a course or a chat with a teacher if you want to bring your practice further.
It's widely recognised that how you start your day is important. However if you get off to a stressful start, don't worry. Now is always the time, which means anytime is a good time to begin!
Here are some simple tips to incorporate into your day:
When you wake take 5 slow mindful breaths
Feel your feet on the floor
If possible meditate if not think of 5 things for which you are truly grateful
Listen to the kettle boil
When you drink your tea/coffee - savour the experience
Take a walk
Meditate for 1 - 3 minutes after lunch
Practice doing one thing at a time
If you notice your inner dialogue is unkind - ask yourself, is this useful?
If your thoughts are racing, stop for a moment, if you can imagine your thoughts are a radio playing in the background and you can turn the volume right down. Breathe.
Punctuate your day by stopping, notice for tension. Breathe and as you exhale imagine your whole body melting
Take some YOU time, everyday to do something you love, or nothing at all
Practice your listening skills
Smell, taste, touch, listen, taste, senses fully alive. You'll be surprised at what you discover
Engaging in simple everyday mindfulness practices means our stress levels decrease, we experience more balance and perspective and we can get on with living our lives despite any drama! That's not to say we run away from drama but we are better equipped to manage stressful events in our lives with authenticity.