When I studied massage back in the 90’s it was common practice to learn about meditation. Alongside mindfulness, harmony and the balance of life. Yin and Yang.
I studied Yoga, Tai Chi and many Eastern philosophy ideas. Always with the consideration of ebb and flow of life. Massage lends itself so well to the ebb and flow of the hands. And massage does give both the giver and the receiver a powerful boost of mindfulness.
Over the years I’ve continued to try to be grounded and let the moments matter. Yet, with the pace of life moving so fast and a busy practice, it’s so easy to forget these breathtaking things that help to make our life feel less stressful.
A few years ago Mindfulness appeared in the media and I had a few clients coming in asking me about it. As always happen the more you think about something the more you notice it. And so once again I’ve decided to take more notice and practice meditation and mindfulness. So that I can be “ in” the moment a little more, to be grateful for what I have and to live a happier life. (I do already have a happy life but we always want more.) Isn’t everyone just looking for happiness?
Would incorporating mindfulness into your day be beneficial to you?
Do you ever find yourself unintentionally coasting through your day, and when you look back you can’t recall but a small part of the details?
Do you notice yourself becoming stressed out or worrying about what is to come? Even if it is simply a possibility and not a certainity.
Do you find yourself feeling angry or resentful about those things over which you have no control?
Mindfulness may be the answer.
If you are like most, you may have answered yes to at least one of these questions.
Have you wondered if there is another way to live your life?
Are you wondering what is Mindfulness?
When you take the time to pay attention to and savour the experiences that are happening around you. When you tune into your thoughts and feelings then you are being mindful.
Where should you begin?
Try incorporating the following mindfulness practices into your day
Meditate – Take at least a few minutes each day to meditate. You do not need to spend the time following a script or any specific guidelines whatsoever. It is important to try different methods until you find a process that works for you.
Often this means just sitting, breathing, and tuning into the sounds of your environment. Being aware of the thoughts that come up and your emotional reaction to them, and the feelings in your body.
You may find your mind wandering to your to-do list or dinner plans, try to gently bring your thoughts back to your breath.
You may have to do this over and over again until you are able to go more than even five breaths without your brain taking a walk.
If this happens, let it go, do not ridicule yourself. See what ideas, emotions, and physical sensations arise that have been blocked by all of the mental clutter. You might be surprised!
Search your phone apps you will find some wonderful mediation podcasts. Utube is full of relaxing music, mediational videos and who knows where the journey will end once you start along. The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step.
You don’t need to be religious or spiritual to learn to practise mindfulness. Everyone can enjoy the benefits.
Fully engage in conversation. When you are talking to a friend, are you often playing mental ping-pong between judgmental thoughts and that to-do list again?
Listening, truly listening, is a skill that opens your heart and helps you form genuine connections with others. However, it takes practice, commitment, and patience with yourself. If you find that your mind wanders to a place of judgment, try to guide it back to a place of compassion, kindness, and empathy.
Switch from multi-tasking to single-tasking. While this isn’t always possible every moment, even just a few 20-minute sessions per day will help. I use the Tomato timer to help me focus. Especially when I’m writing blogs!
If you are eating breakfast, instead of reading the paper or checking your email, slow down and focus on and savor your food.
If you are hustling on your walk to work in the morning, try to tune into the sights and sounds around you and the emotions that they elicit.
In our busy culture, being mindful is not second nature and takes a great deal of practice. Yet, even a small shift can impact your thought processes, minimize your level of stress, and open you up to greater feelings of peace, gratitude, and acceptance.
Mindfulness has been proven to have a positive effect on both physical and emotional health.
I’m going on a Mindfulness Silent Medication retreat – just for one day – I will report back on the experience.