Life has changed. Quarantine rules mean we are now living our lives in unchartered waters, navigating an increase in financial pressures and a decrease in social engagement. We may be feeling more stressed, more anxiety and more alone.
One Another has teamed up with Carolyn King to speak about mindfulness and how it can be achieved in the comfort of your own home.
The first thing I want to say is that it is so important to reach out for help if you need it. Reach out to a qualified professional and reach out to your loved ones. Chances are your loved ones are also going through the same emotional roller coaster you are and leaning on each other can be extremely beneficial.
The second thing I want to say is that this time in quarantine is a great time to relax, recharge and recalibrate your life. And the perfect way to do this is to learn how to become more mindful.
What is Mindfulness?
First let me tell you what mindfulness isn’t.
Have you ever driven your car somewhere and arrived at your destination only to realise you remember nothing about your journey? Or started eating a packet of chips and then suddenly noticed all you had left in your hands was an empty packet?
These are some common examples of ‘mindlessness’ – A state we also often refer to as being on ‘autopilot’.
On autopilot we tend to get lost in ‘doing’ so we find ourselves constantly striving and struggling to ‘get stuff done’ instead of really living.
On the other hand, Mindfulness is
- Accepting yourself and your life.
- A mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
- Speaking to your heart, not your head.
- Deepening your connection with yourself and everything you know.
Mindfulness is essentially being fully aware and engaged in the present moment. It involves becoming aware of your thoughts, how you are feeling and what is going on in your surrounding by being in the present moment and not judging it. Basically, it is all about being in the “now” or present moment, which means not being stuck regurgitating the past or preoccupied with constantly thinking about the future.
The benefits of Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness is like building a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Only rather than building up a muscle, practicing mindfulness strengthens our mind.
The benefits are numerous and life changing. They include:
- Helping us to nurture inner peace within ourselves.
- Improves our concentration.
- Improves our general well-being.
- Increases our resilience and our strength.
- Helps us make better choices as we move through life.
- Reducing stress.
- Reducing injuries and accidents.
- Increasing creativity.
- Increasing productivity.
- Increasing connection to self.
- Increasing our ability to learn.
- Increasing our success in life.
- Creating better relationships with those around us.
How do we become more Mindful?
Becoming mindful is basically becoming more aware. Here are a few examples:
- Bring your awareness to the room you are currently in. What is going on around you right now?
- Focus on what you are doing now. Totally immerse yourself in your current task, whether it is washing the dishes or eating dinner.
- Enjoy the moments such as when you are having a shower or going for a walk.
- Notice and feel how your body feels when you are going about your day.
- Check in with your breathing and notice how your breath feels going into your lungs and body and going out of your lungs and body.
A practical Mindful Exercise.
Try this Shower Mindfulness Exercise the next time you have a shower.
When you are in the shower, focus on how it feels to have the water hitting your body.
Feel gratitude on how lucky you are to have the ability to take a shower, with running the water, by yourself and not needing help.
Feel gratitude for your body, your hands, your legs.
Here the sound of the water hitting your body and hitting the shower base.
Feel the warmth from the water and the cleanliness you feel as you wash away the dirt.
Really experience and appreciate your shower.
As I have mentioned earlier, mindfulness gets easier and more beneficial the more we implement it into our lives. Start on something small today and notice the difference it makes to your daily emotional health.
And remember, Happiness Starts with a Smile and Empowerment Starts with a Choice!