Not ready to jump into the hype about mindfulness?

If you are sitting on the fence about the benefits of living your life in the moment, then this article shares three misconceptions about mindfulness and how easy it is to make it part of your every day.

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For many of us, we are so used to moving through our days, with little time to pause or be really be attuned and aware from moment to moment. If you have not tried to practice mindfulness because of such misconceptions like: it voids you of emotion, or requires that you clear your mind, or because you don’t have time to “meditate”; then take a few moments to debunk these misconceptions. Tuning in to your life at home, at work, and in your social environment more mindfully is simple and has many benefits.

Mindfulness voids you of any emotion

Mindfulness does not void you of emotion. In fact when you start to practice mindfulness, you will see that you will become aware of the contents of your thoughts, and your emotions in a vivid way. It will allow you to attune to these and let go of any destructive distractions making way for these thoughts and emotions. Turning inwards and tuning into your thoughts and emotions, couple with self compassion and kindness, promotes a simple and beautiful way to connect with your inner self, attune to who you are, and come to a place where you realise that all emotions come and go. It also enables the release of ‘binging’ and ‘self indulgence’ that is commonly used to distract us from accepting who we are.

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

Clearing our your mind

By practising mindfulness, you are training your mind to be aware and engaged to what it is doing all of the time, and bring awareness to your thoughts in the present moments. Clearing out your mind is not the goal of mindfulness as your mind naturally wonders, and this is okay! In fact in 2010, psychologists of Harvey University, Killingsworth and Gilbert, undertook a research study that showed that “people spend 46.9% percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy” (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010). With mindfulness we are learning to honour and accept our thoughts in a non-judgemental way and rather than try and omit or stop the thoughts we approach the thoughts with curiosity.

Mindfulness takes up too much time

Learning and practicing mindfulness helps us understand that it is a way of living. It allows us to be able to pause and be in the present moment in any situation. It can be practiced in many situations and for short periods of time. For instance, waking up and rather than reaching for phone, or social media or emails first thing in the morning, sit upright and consciously focus on taking 10 deep breaths noticing the movement in your body, the thoughts that are arising first thing in the morning and the sensations around you. Another instance could be that when you are busy with a particular task, perhaps it is scrolling through social media, and your partner, child, or friend is asking for attention. Taking a few moments to pause, turn towards them, tune in to their words, activity or what they are trying to show you, and notice what you are feeling in your heart.

Practical Tip: Next time you are overthinking a situation that may have evoked what you would call a ‘negative emotion’, allow yourself to just be with your thoughts without any judgement.

Photo by Keegan Houser on Unsplash

Practice with bite sizes of mindfulness

Mindfulness can be practiced in most situations each and every day. It is our choice to tune in and notice what is going on. Whilst many of us are faced with unpleasant, challenging or difficult moments, whether they be show stopping moments, or the day to day moments in life, we all have the opportunity to pause, because aware of emotions and unpleasant thoughts, physical feelings in our bodies. By doing this we have the choice of how we respond in the moment, with compassion, kindness, love, calm and empathetically.

Like most things, living more mindfully takes practice. The practice however can be separated into bite sized portions throughout each and every day. If you are willing to start practising mindfulness, consider the following

  • First thing in the morning when you rise, you spend a few minutes breathing
  • When you shower, tune into your shower, the water, the sensations, and the intent of having a shower
  • When cooking dinner or about to embark on your next meal, pause and notice your senses – sight of the food, smell of the food, sensation of taste and hearing the food, noticing what goes on in your body and thoughts
  • When in the working environment, tune into the words that your colleagues may be using in a meeting; notice your thoughts, and what is coming up for you; and mostly listen with the intent of truly listening
  • When you are faced with a challenging person in your personal or professional environment, approach their perspective with curiosity rather than defensiveness or offensiveness, be inquisitive with kindness
  • When spending time outdoors, tune into the sounds, sights and smells of nature and notice your thoughts. Tune into nature, enjoy the sights, breathe in the air of nature, listen to the sounds, feel the breeze of the wind
  • When you need a burst of energy, spend 5 minutes listening to an audio where you tune into the words and music, again noticing your thoughts.

By doing this not only are you tuning into yourself, you will see the amazing effects on your overall health, mental health and general well being. It may also help you find a new appreciation of these activities and learn something about yourself, others and the world around you

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

As always.. love to connect with those that are on a journey towards mindful living and connecting their body and minds…. please reach out to me via the various social media platforms so we can continue the conversation.

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