Life is busy, and it seems to be getting busier. We seem to be doing things faster than ever before to keep up. And that causes us to get stressed or to feel like we can’t stop, even for a second, to catch our breath. We get carried away with what might be. We can get stressed about all the things we need to get done. We can get stuck in the past and wish it had been different. Perhaps we hope that someone else might change so our life will get a bit easier. Or maybe we get caught in the fantasy about something we cannot control. Sound familiar?
But does it really have to be this way? What about right now, this very moment that we are experiencing? Is that not more important? After all it’s the only thing we have complete control over.
So, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is bringing our attention to what we are doing right now in this very moment, rather than letting our minds wander off to the past or the future. When we are not mindful we get swept along, not fully engaged in what’s going on, so things just happen to us, and often not in the way we want.
But when we bring our full focus and attention to the present moment we give ourselves choices in the moment, and have an opportunity to powerfully change the way things play out.
How do I become more mindful? We can make a start by being fully engaged in this moment. The next time you are having a conversation with someone, notice where your attention goes. Does your mind wander off? Are you thinking about what you want to say, or are you focusing on everything the other person is saying? Are you really listening? Are you aware of what’s going on around you? The people, the noises, the smells? How are you feeling?
Every passing moment provides an opportunity for us to be mindful. You can start right now, reading this blog post.
And how will mindfulness make a difference to me? There are so many great benefits to mindfulness. We feel like we are going slower, but we still get things done! We start to let go of the stress and anxiety that so many of us feel on a day to day basis. Our focus becomes sharper. Our relationships with others, and of course ourselves, naturally starts to change for the better too. We experience fewer conflicts and we start to experience more balance. And of course we give our minds a well earned rest!
Who doesn’t want more of that?!
Mindfulness is not something we ‘do’ but it is more a state of ‘being’. As we practice we become more aware of our actions and our reactions to certain people and situations, so that we can change them for the better…..
What happens when I forget and get caught up again in the busyness of everyday life? Sometimes we do fall off the band wagon. But don’t worry, it’s part of the process and it takes some practice.
As soon as you realise that your mind has become distracted, you are being mindful. Simply remind yourself to come back to the present moment. It’s a bit of a cycle. We are mindful. We get distracted. We realise we are distracted. We become mindful again…. and so it continues.
This is how it is for me. And over time I have become quicker and quicker at noticing when I’m mindful and when I’m not. I’m certainly not perfect at it, but I have definitely got better! I am less stressed and anxious about what I can’t control, I approach things with a calmer attitude and I have better relationships than I have ever had before. I no longer take hours to fall asleep because I can’t switch off. The benefits are endless! Remember: Start small. Just start with one moment at a time. When you recognise that your mind has wondered then bring your attention back to the moment. Even if that’s just 10 seconds. Giving your mind a rest for 10 seconds is better than nothing.
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