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Mindfulness – Live in the Moment

What is mindfulness?

In a World of evolving technology where convenience is key and we spend so much time glued to a screen, mindfulness is essential. According to the American Psychological Association (APA.org, 2012), mindfulness is:

“…a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment. In this sense, mindfulness is a state and not a trait. While it might be promoted by certain practices or activities, such as meditation, it is not equivalent to or synonymous with them.”

Simply put, mindfulness is about paying attention to the World around us, the smell of the flowers, the feel of a feather, small interactions which can stimulate the senses. It is about the now, being in the moment and not reliving a conversation from earlier or worrying about a meeting later today.

It is so easy to get swept up by what is happening around us and to us. Some days seem like a whirlwind of reactions and rollercoasters with life unfolding so quickly that we barely know what is happening until it has happened! Just consider the John Lennon quote “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”, are you spending too much time planning and not enough living?

Why is mindfulness so important?

Answer this, how often do you immerse yourself in what you are experiencing? How often do you soak up the sounds, the smells, the minute details of what is around you? I’ll give you a classic example, so often at concerts people are so busy on their phones taking photos or filming but are they truly absorbing the music, atmosphere and experience? Try watching

How to be more mindful

The senses are essential to mindfulness, using one or more of them and concentrating can transform how you interact with an object or environment.

TOUCH – Feel things, consider the texture and temperature. Is something heavy or lighter than you thought it would be? When you eat think about whether something is crunchy or soft, roll it around your mouth and notice it change in texture.

TASTE – Take your time and savour the flavour of your favourite food. Is it sweet or sour? Allow yourself to really concentrate on what you are tasting and the different elements that make up the overall flavour.

SIGHT – Focus on an object, look at it really closely and observe the precise detail that you would otherwise overlook. It’s actually amazing what you can see if you take the time to actually look.

SOUND – Don’t just listen- LISTEN! Switch off your phone, the TV, radio etc. and have a conversation where you commit 100% of your attention to it. Sit on your own, turn everything off and just listen to the sounds around you, the sounds you wouldn’t normally hear.

SMELL – Probably the least actively used sense but so important. Light a scented candle, close your eyes and concentrate on the fragrance. Smells are great for evoking memories, go out in the garden and appreciate the cut grass or buy your favourite flowers, let them fill your house with their bouquet.

 

Tips –

  • Turn off your devices! A lot of us are using computers, tablets and phones all day long, it can be easy to forget to switch them off so you’re not constantly checking for new emails, refreshing social media and working in general.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed, sit down and focus on an object in your surroundings. What colour is it? Is it hot or cold? Wet or dry? What colours would you use to describe it? Focusing on something can help you get out of your head and stop the overthinking and worrying.
  • Sleep is so important. Try and wake up slowly, focusing on your breathing and the things you are looking forward to. Easier said than done I know, but it can make a huge difference if you start your day in a relaxed frame of mind.
  • Discover what works for you. We are all different, some people find relaxation in yoga or running, others in painting or drumming, as long as it works for you that is all that matters!

Find out more

10 Awesome Mindfulness Tips for Beginners

Mindfulness Exercises to Try

General Information about Mindfulness from the NHS


 

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