While there is so much change and turmoil in the world it is important to take time to pause, breathe and stay in the present.
You may have heard people talk about being mindful or meditating – but what’s that all about? Keep reading to find out.
Being mindful allows us to take time to be present with our thoughts, taking time to breathe, nourishing our bodies with healthy food, acting justly and speaking words of kindness.
Think of our brains like a time machine – often we find ourselves thinking and getting stuck in the past or worrying about the future. But throughout the day if we can just pause, breathe and give our mind a break by focusing on the present we will be better off.
Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation:
- Increases compassion towards others
- Reduces aggression
- Increases positivity and wellbeing
- Reduces stress
Being Mindful is about making choices.
We make choices daily, hourly and by the minute. We can choose to take the time to be kind to ourselves and start the day with positive messages about our day ahead. Messages like ‘I am thankful for another day’, ‘I am grateful for good health’, ‘I am looking forward to learning something new’. While other days we may choose to rush into our work or study and forget to take time to enjoy it, celebrate our good health or take time to learn something new.
Watch the video about Mindfulness from Smiling Minds.
Let’s explore those Five Easy Steps to be mindful
Take time to focus on what’s happening around you. Notice and say to yourself 5 things you can see, 5 things you can physically feel (like your feet in your shoes) and 5 things you can hear. You might surprise yourself and observe something new that you hadn’t noticed. If you’re using screens a lot, take a moment to refocus on what you can see out the window.
Focus on positive thoughts and feelings to acknowledge your strengths and the value you add to others.
Be present with your uncomfortable feelings and permit yourself to feel them, rather than trying to avoid or push them away. Acknowledging the negatives is being real with ourselves we can say – I am feeling ____________________ at this moment and that’s okay. Deciding which thought we want to take into our day is a conscious choice to choose hope over despair.
Time to Breathe
Focus on our breathing. While breathing is a natural part of our life. Meditation to focus on each breath allows us to be mindful, of not only our breath but also our bodies from the top of our head to the tips of our fingers and toes. Closing our eyes, allows us to focus on each breath. Let’s meditate by breathing in deeply while counting one, two, three and exhaling out gently three, two one and repeat. This relaxes our body as we are awakened by each breathe.
Eating healthy nourishes our bodies. As we enjoy the taste of the food we eat, we can also smell the aroma’s as they cook or the freshness of a piece of fruit. We connect to our senses of smell and touch as we make a conscious choice to eat healthily.
Acting justly opens our heart and mind to focus on ourselves first, then people we know and care for deeply, while also sending well-wishes to others. This allows us to let go of any negative thoughts and feelings we may be experiencing. This also increases our ability to be compassionate to those we encounter in our day.
Speaking kindly begins with you. This can be through a series of I am statements for example; ‘I am kind…, I am thoughtful…, I am strong…, I am courageous…’ the list goes on. This then allows us to be able to speak kindly to others in a way that allows those receiving your kind words and your minds to smile and be thankful for someone else noticing our personal qualities.
Being mindful is a choice we make each day and for some of us, it has become a lifestyle. There are many apps out there that can help you on your journey. Such as Smiling Mind, Headspace, Calm, Stop, Breath & Think and Simply Being are the top five mindfulness apps recommended by psychologist and they are free.