A CRASH COURSE IN MINDFULNESS - 9 SIMPLE STEPS
Being mindful is another way of saying that you are present, in the moment, aware of yourself and your surroundings. Seeing things at face value as they appear to you at the time and responding accordingly.
Imagine if you could feel that way all of the time? All too often we find ourselves hypnotised by stress from work, relationships, parenting and all of the other things that we have to deal with.
1. Be patient
At various stages on the road to mindfulness, you will feel silly, you’ll ask yourself if you shouldn’t be doing something else. There will be moments where you don’t feel the benefit. There will be moments where confused people might ask you what you’re doing.
Please just trust us! This is a worth while and empowering endeavour that could change your life and the lives of those around you in a positive and lasting way.
2. Get enough rest
This is about so much more than 8 hours of sleep. It’s about giving yourself the chance to recharge from time to time and get yourself in a fit state to work, rather than just working through fatigue.
The quality of outcomes will decline, as will your passion for the task at hand. We think that a well earned break is a huge part of being effective in the home or the workplace.
Meditation and mindfulness differ significantly in their outcomes. Where mindfulness is about being present in the moment and filling your head with the moment you occupy. Meditation is about removing everything from your mind.
Achieving inner silence and removing anything and everything that is ultimately a distraction from peacefully being your true self. Removed from your life.
Meditating will help to give you perspective on your life and how you’re living it. Leaving you better prepared to live each moment of it effectively.
4. Meditate whilst eating
Much like walking, eating is something that we do every day, without even thinking about it.
We think it can be a great opportunity to get in some mindfulness and meditation practice.
Really paying attention to the flavours, textures and smells involved can be a great way to bring yourself right into the experience and can have some quite thrilling results, especially if you’re eating something especially delicious and really want to savour.
5. Meditate whilst walking
Walking is something that we all do all of the time and is a great opportunity to use what would otherwise be dead time to work on our mindfulness and concentration.
Whether it’s a walk that you go on for the sake of a walk or it’s walking to or from one of the many chores that we all no doubt have to conquer in the course of a day. You can use this time to focus on your body and your breathing.
As you take each step be aware of your feet hitting the ground, your arms swinging, your heart rate and your breathing. How it all feels, the rhythm of it all.
As you become aware of these things your awareness will spread beyond your own self to the area surrounding you. The noise the ground makes under your feet. The wind washing through the leaves in the trees.
6. Separate yourself from your thoughts and emotions
Much like the ground beneath our feet or the air in our lungs, emotions are transient experiences, they are not who or what we are. This is a crucial distinction to get your head around if you are to be a mindful and self-aware person.
If you can learn to separate yourself from your emotional responses to things, then you can become the calm in the storm.
Taking things at face value rather than taking them personally is a huge part of adulthood. However, it’s a trap that we all fall into from time to time and it’s one we have to become more aware of as we progress through our lives.
7. Practice concentration
Concentration really is the basis for mindfulness, you can’t concentrate on anything unless you’re in a calm state. So, practicing concentrating on one thing specifically will hopefully over time leave you with the ability to concentrate like you can just ride a bike if you need to.
We are big believers in one job at a time and doing things deliberately and slowly will help you develop the skill of concentration in a way that you can call upon whenever you need it.
Preventing your mind from wandering whilst intently focusing on the task in hand can, at first, be particularly challenging, and make for some frustrating moments. Each time you find this has happened, use one of the earlier steps and get back to work.
This one is definitely more of a long game tactic but worth sticking with.
8. Be aware of your body
This is another technique that you really can use anywhere at anytime to pull you out of your head and back into the moment. Really try to feel the ground beneath your feet. The wight of your arms as they hang, even the material of the chair that you’re sitting on.
Whether it’s the wind on your face or the fabric of your clothes, acknowledging these sensations puts you squarely in the here and now and can remove you from whatever nonsense is swashing around in your head.
9. Breath mindfully
This is something that you can do anytime, day or night in any situation. Just simply pay attention to your breathing, feel the air passing in to your nose and out through your mouth.
Pay attention to your diaphragm expanding and your chest filling with air. This will really help you just to fall back down to earth at a reasonable pace and set you up for any situation.