OK, so today is Mindfulness Day. Happy Mindfulness Day!
Unless you’ve been hibernating under a rock for the last year or two, you’ll know that mindfulness is the new cool thing on the block! But, if you’re anything like me, you may have snubbed this ‘airy fairy’ practice, thinking it’s just for hippies, tree huggers, monks and buddhas.
HOW WRONG WAS I?
Over the last 12 months I’ve got into this vibe and realised it’s got legs! It’s actually quite good swag and does wonders for your wellbeing. So, before I even tell you anything about it, here’s 3 bloody good reasons why EVERYBODY should get into it!
- Happiness is a side effect
- It improves your mental health
- It has a positive effect on all your relationships
Oh… and it also boosts productivity and creativity and lowers stress (3 bonus benefits!) and I don’t know any crazy fools that wouldn’t want a little slice of all of those. You?
I think one of the first things is to really know what mindfulness means because for a while I didn’t. I had this misconception that it was all full-on meditation with your legs crossed and a lot of humming going on but that’s not it! For a while I was kinda thinking….. yeah but it’s not what normal ‘everyday’ people do is it? It’s for people who don’t have to go to work or look after the kids and the dog and spend their free time in supermarket isles etc, those that can do yoga when they feel like it. It was only when I got clarity on what mindfulness actually is that I began to see the light and how it might just be something that I and other ‘everyday folk’ could get involved in.
According to John Kabat-Zinn Ph.D mindfulness is a scientific approach to acceptance and inner peace. It is paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally. To sum it up in one sentence: An enriched awareness of the present.
Still feel a bit far fetched?
OK, I’ll make it easy for you (I’ve already done the hard work)….. here’s my 7 minfulness tips for normal people.
1.The most important one – STOP JUDGING. That means judging other people, judging yourself and judging ‘things’ (easier said than done… but TRY HARDER!)
2. Do one thing at a time – if you think multi-tasking is clever, forget it. You don’t do things properly. One question – do you want to do things with excellence & brilliance or with mediocrity? If it’s the latter, crack on with your 97 jobs at once and a broom up your arse! If it’s the former, congratulations and go conquer the world!
3. Don’t be a Debbie Downer – shit happens right? I’m not deluded, or live a rock star lifestyle. But we’ve all got control over how we respond to shit. If you focus on the positives rather than the negatives then good vibes will come your way #everycloudandthat
4. Press pause – next time you lose your shit, don’t fly off the handle. There’s a space in between stimulus and response, use it! Rather than react, respond. Press the pause button. (Tip – breathe and count to 10). When we react we do so based on mood, feeling and circumstance. When we press pause, we’re able to respond based on principles and desired results e.g. what’s important about they way I deal with this and what’s the outcome I’m looking for.
5. Just fooking breathe! – When we’re stressed and uptight we lose our ability to breathe. We breathe from the chest – which is shallow and rapid, we don’t take in enough oxygen to allow ourselves to function and think properly. Instead, learn to belly breathe – breathe using your diaphragm (you’ll know if your doing this right if when you breathe in, your tummy swells out and when you breathe out your tummy flattens, like a balloon. Whoever said that when you want to squeeze through a small space you should breathe in was feckin nuts!). Honestly, breathing in this way will allow you to centre yourself and give you a sense of calm and perspective.
6. Be a jolly good listener – Paying attention to something is great to becoming more mindful as it focuses you on the here and now – and being present with someone else is one of the most wonderful things you can do (for you and them). Nuff said! You got two ears and one mouth for a reason.
7.My last and favourite tip is to W A K E U P S L O W L Y. Yey! I knew you’d love it! Nah, I actually got a bit mixed up with this one. I thought it was licence to have a big bloody lie in… but it’s not…. And before you start raving on at me about ‘I haven’t got the luxury to wake up slowly’, I know! So here’s what it means. You still get up at the same time, just as you wake up, notice how you feel. Savour the joy and comfort of your duvet, connect with it. Have a good old stretch and tune into those sensations for a moment before you burst into action and start screaming about coco pops and crumpets!
So there you have it, my top tips for mindfulness for normal people like you and me. Give them a try and let me know how you get on and which one’s your fave!
Oh…. And one last thing….. the most simple and easiest thing to do to become more mindful and feel all those benefits I mentioned earlier……. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN!!!!!
Lots of mindfulness love and hugs,