Have you ever got into work and then realised you don’t really have much recollection of your commute, or do you eat at your desk without tasting your food? Or spend more time on you smartphone than in conversation? If you answered yes to any of these, the chances are that you’re zoning out on a regular basis, spending at least some time on autopilot, but don’t fear there is something that can help – Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a real buzz word at the moment, with crazes such as ‘Mindful walking/eating/cooking’ sweeping social media and press, but I have been a huge mindfulness advocate for well over a year now.
So what is it I hear you cry! In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Practising mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement. Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety and conflict, and increase resilience and emotional intelligence, while improving communication in relationships and even in the workplace – which has led to a spike in organisations embracing mindfulness as part of wellbeing activities – even my work are at it!
I first heard about it through my CBT therapist – who said it was worthwhile reading up and trying it out to see if it could work for me, but like yoga, it is a practice so you need to be dedicated.
What appealed to me first and foremost was the angle of being ‘present’ – with so many what ifs in my life at the time (and now to an extent), and worrying about the future – taking time to be in the present moment was so appealing.
Have I been fully dedicated – not as much as I would like to be! I have done reading on the subject and the science behind it and I have been embracing guided meditations – which I love. If you like a guided meditation then I would wholly recommend Headspace – they have great 10 minute guided mediations on their website or app as well as some great animations on their YouTube channel here which help to explain how to embrace mediation and helps coach you through it! I enjoy their approach so I have signed up fully, so not only does it take you past the first 10 free days, it also gives you a number of meditations you can tap into any time you want – for if you are feeling on the brink of panic, or some to help you sleep, or to do when your cooking or eating – there really is something for everyone in useful, bite size chunks.
I by no means think my journey with mindfulness has ever really begun, I want to get into the habit of meditating daily, even if it’s only for 10 minutes to help centre myself, and I want to embrace mindful moments throughout my day, I have heard that setting an alarm a couple of times a day to remind you to stop and take a moment to focus on your breathing can work and you can even download some amazing apps you can download to remind you – such as the Lotus Bud Mindfulness Bell app on iTunes or The Mindfulbell app on GooglePlay – I think I will give these a try!
I would definitely recommend mindfulness as a great place to start if you do have anxiety – even to help bring you back when you feel panicky, but it does take practice so my biggest piece of advice – don’t get frustrated with yourself! Some mediations will be smooth and some you just won’t feel like you’re getting it – and that’s perfectly ok!
Until next time
Little Lemon xxx