I’m a great believer in the benefits of practicing ‘mindfulness’.
There may be some of you reading this that might not know exactly what mindfulness is or what it means and that’s ok because over the course of time (each Monday), I’ll explain more and will be covering many aspects of how to practice mindfulness as well as the benefits of practicing it! In a nutshell, mindfulness is about slowing down, clearing your mind and focusing on the present. If you are a visual person like me, this image might be helpful!
There is no time like the present to start learning! Let’s start with a very simple mindful meditation exercise. Don’t get freaked out by the word meditation ok – just follow the instructions below!
When you have finished reading this post, stay there in your chair, feet planted firmly on the floor, back straight in your chair, close your eyes and do the following:
- Concentrate on your breathing – in through your nose, out through your mouth – and the rise and fall of your chest. This helps to clear your head of thoughts so that you can better concentrate on the here and now. Once you feel that you have cleared your mind as best you can, you are ready for the steps 2-6 where you will be concentrating your focus on the present moment. For the next steps, spend at least a couple of minutes on each. Don’t rush through them. If any thoughts come into your mind, don’t panic – it is quite normal and does not mean you have failed. Acknowledge them and then send them on their way with the promise you will deal with them later.
- Focus on your hearing. What can you hear? Can you hear birds chirping? The sound of the fridge? A clock ticking? Your own breathing?
- Focus on your sense of smell. What can you smell? Food? Perfume?
- What are you feeling? Are you happy, sad, anxious, excited?
- How is your body feeling sitting in the chair you are in? Are you comfortable? Can you notice any aches and pains?
- What can you taste in your mouth? Have you just recently eaten or had a drink? Is there a lingering taste? When you are ready – open your eyes and reflect on how that experience made you feel? Before, during and after?
I kept this exercise brief because of the need for you to memorize the above before shutting your eyes to do the exercise. This is a very simple but great way to start the practice of mindfulness. If you have done all of the above, you have successfully cleared your usually very active mind and lived mindfully in the present moment. Congratulations!!
Soon we will add ‘vision’ to the practice but first it is important to learn to clear the mind and closing your eyes is the best way to start with that.
If you’ve done the above exercise, I’d love to hear how you went in the comments below!
Ciao for now,
[Note: This post has been linked up with One Mother Hen’s – Open Slather]