We hear the word thrown around a lot, but what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the art of being fully present in the moment, the moment you are currently in. It is the heart of paying full attention to one thing at a time, no multi-tasking, just focus on one thing. It is an oasis of calm amongst the constant chatter of the mind, the rehashing of the past, or the anxiety for the future. It is a practice of holding our own attention and energy in this world of non-stop demand on it from stimulus and distraction.
Sound good to you? Here are a few ways you can practice, choose one that works best for you or use all of them.
This is the practice of staying focused on the breathing. It is a great practice as we all breathe, all the time, so we can do this anywhere, anytime! Become aware of the breath and as you breathe in say to yourself, ‘I know I’m breathing in’. As you breathe out say, ‘I know I’m breathing out’. Seems simple right? The mind will try to wander off, as you notice it wandering draw it back to watching the breath. It is a practice so be kind to yourself if it takes a while to be able to stay focussed.
So you’re on the go, perhaps too much to stop and watch the breath, then what? Moving mindfulness is your ticket. Simply paying attention as you do things like, I am walking, I am leaving my keys on the table, I am pouring a drink, and so on. Not only do you practice mindfulness, it is really helpful to remember certain things, like where you left your keys. Being aware of the movements we are making while we make them adds quality to the moment and the movement.
If you can, do this with plenty of tasks during the day, if you can’t then choose one task. Let’s use brushing your teeth as an example. While brushing your teeth pay close attention to every detail from the feel of the toothbrush in your hand, to the colour and texture of the toothpaste, how the tube feels when you squeeze it, the flavour of the toothpaste, the way you brush your teeth in a particular way and, how it feels in each part, each tooth.
We do so much on autopilot that so much slips by. Our minds are constantly elsewhere and busy, busy, busy. Mindfulness helps to take us out of that busyness and restore our attention where it needs to be or where we consciously choose to send it. With this practice we clear the mind a little, perform better and make wiser decisions.
Have fun with the practice, feel free to get in touch and let me know how you go.
More from Erin at aloka.com.au