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Mindfulness

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I’m sure you have heard of this term before, but maybe you haven’t found out exactly what it is or if you know what it is, maybe you haven’t consciously put it into practice regularly in your life and would like to.

Mindfulness is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment, which one develops through the practice of meditation and through other training.

Thanks Wikipedia 🙂

When South Africa went into lock-down on the 27th of March in order to flatten the curve of the Corona Virus pandemic, many of us were suddenly hit with the reality of what we were going to do to keep busy for the next 21 days (or longer). I can do a bit of work here and there but there are definitely gaps in the day when one needs something to do or keep your mind active. It is also the perfect time to catch up on things around the house that you’ve been wanting to do for ages, do some DIY and maybe learn something new! On the first evening, I saw on Instagram that someone I follow (Louise from BotanicalBuddha) was offering a free 7 day course on mindfulness and I jumped at it.

So from signing up, I get one email every day for 7 days which help me on my journey to be more mindful.

Here are some easy ways to incorporate it into your daily life and to help you cope with every day stressors:

  • Breathe intentionally – breathe in, hold for 3-6 counts and exhale the same
  • Drink & eat while being fully present- take a pause before, and then really taste & smell whatever you are having.
  • Do one thing at a time – we can really get wrapped up in multi-tasking all day long, but just try doing one thing at a time, and fully focus on that one thing.
  • Notice your senses – listen deeply and contemplate your response without being reactive
  • Mindful walking – feel your feet connecting with the ground
  • Bring your attention to your body and breathe into the areas that you may feel tension; relax your shoulders.

I don’t know about you, but immediately while contemplating all of this, I thought that while I am being mindful, it is also the perfect time to practice some gratitude or show your appreciation for the things around you. For example, while I am drinking a cup of peppermint tea, I really appreciate that I have a quiet moment to drink it without interruptions and maybe I am appreciating the view from my veranda into the garden, at the same time.

Back to the definition for a moment- I just want to reiterate the fact that mindfulness is about being present, acknowledging your feelings, thoughts etc WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. This is for me, the hard part. It’s about acknowledging, but believing that it is neither right or wrong. It’s about being compassionate with yourself and gentle. You can feel things and think things and acknowledge them and then let them go, without getting sucked into a spiral thought pattern.

Meditation

Click on this picture for a link on How to meditate and the benefits of it

Meditation is a way we can make time to be present and practice mindfulness. There is no right length of time or technique, you need to find what works for you. If you are a beginner, sometimes guided meditations are best to start with. The easiest way is to find a meditation app that resonates with you. The most important thing to remember is that you will have thoughts popping into your head throughout the meditation, it is normal! You just need to acknowledge them and let them go. If that seems hard, try to bring yourself back to your breathing.

Something Louise mentioned from someone else, is that you can always steal mindful minutes throughout the day. Maybe you can’t make time to sit and meditate, BUT you can take three deep breaths here and there; pause before you eat; stop and be grateful for an opportunity to wait for something which gives you time to regroup etc. Try small ways of incorporating what you can, where you can.

If this post has helped just one person and brought perspective & calm to their life, then I have been successful!

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