Mindfulness, we all keep hearing about it, but how many people do it?
Mindfulness is all about learning to relax. It’s about being able to take time during the day to reset your thoughts. To settle yourself. To regain some form of calm.
It sounds like a new age idea, but the actual concepts of mindfulness have been around for a long time. What we need to do is pick the areas that work for us.
Why Practice Mindfulness?
There are many reasons to practice mindfulness, including:
- stress reduction
- anxiety reduction
- some health benefits
We are all so busy. We are all dashing between pieces of work or meetings. When sitting down we are interacting with our devices. We have lost the ability to just sit and do nothing, to relax.
As a result of all these stimuli, we have stopped listening. We have so much going through our mind. When someone talks to us their words battle with our internal thoughts. Their words often lose, and when they win the thoughts we had “disappear”.
Through practising mindfulness we learn to still our minds. We open up to process what people are telling us. It allows us to read the report and process it, rather than skimming for small pieces of exciting words.
For many people when they read the word meditation they will get pictures of yogis sat there in a trance. For others, they may see pictures of peaceful scenery.
At its core meditation is about taking time to pause and to clear your mind. It is a very powerful tool, and it does not need a lot of time to perform.
It also is surprisingly difficult. As part of meditation, you are trying to clear your mind. Your mind generally has a different idea and throws all sorts of thoughts and images into your head. Bear with it. With time and practice, mediation does become easier.
There are many different ways to meditate. I am not going to describe them here. Go and search the Internet and you’ll find them.
A top tip I have for anyone trying to meditate. Before you start each session take a couple of minutes to do a brain dump. This is the act of writing down everything that is currently on your mind. Get it out of your head and onto paper, or a note in your electric device. This simple act helps to reduce all the ideas that your mind will try and push at you when you meditate.
One form of meditation that can be quick to use is a breathing exercise version. This form needs about 2 minutes. Who can not spare 2 minutes in their schedule?
First, do the brain dump. Clear out your mind.
Now find somewhere that is quiet. You will not succeed if there is lots of noise and distraction.
We now come to the mediation part.
- Close your eyes. Try and imagine yourself surrounded by a warm, black velvet. This imagining helps me to clear my mind.
- What you are going to do is listen to your breathing. Block out all other sounds, concentrating just on your breathing noises.
- Slowly take a deep breath in, breathing in as much air as you can. When you are “full” then hold your breath for 2 – 3 seconds.
- Now slowly breathe out, trying to push out as much air as you can. When “empty” then hold for 2 -3 seconds.
- Repeat this process for 6 more breaths.
That’s it. All done. 7 breaths. Try it now. Do you feel a bit more relaxed? Hopefully.
This is something that you can do anywhere and at any time. When you start to feel the pressure and stress build up and things seem to be getting on top of you. Now is the time to take 2 minutes, do a brain dump then the breathing exercise.
This is another exercise that is useful in mindfulness.
Yoga includes breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures. It is widely practised for health and relaxation.
Yoga, like meditation, appears easy but once you start it but can become difficult. It is also very beneficial to reducing stress, anxiety and helping you to relax.
There are many yoga classes available. Why not find one in your local area and give them a try. Bear in mind, you will struggle with the first few classes. Try not to go to one class then give in. It takes 3 – 5 classes for your body to start to adapt and for you to see the benefits.
There are other forms of exercise based mindfulness. If yoga is not your thing then why not try Tai Chi, or search for similar activities in your area.
Mindfulness helps you to reduce the distractions of everyday life. It helps you become a better listener.
It helps you to relax. Reduces stress and anxiety.
You do not need to spend a lot of time on mindfulness exercises. What you do need to do is to practice them regularly.
Through meditation and exercise you can calm your inner mind. This frees it up to work on the important things rather than processing noise and chatter.
These all allow you to become more productive.
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Also published on Medium.