Mindfulness is a word we are hearing a lot these days. Once seen as a hippy notion practiced in the ashrams of India, today many large corporations and businesses are beginning to take on board the research and science behind the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.
My own journey into mindfulness and meditation began about 3 years ago, at a time when I discovered Relationship Development Intervention®. As I embarked on further education to support the ways I work with families linked with neuro-diversity, my mind and eyes were open to a new and exciting way of thinking and relating to the world and people around me.
During this time, mindfulness and in particular meditation slowly became a regular practice and today I can testify for its many amazing benefits.
But I won’t lie, it wasn’t something that came easily to me and is still a work-in-progress. As I look back, it was often at times of high stress, when deadlines were approaching, my schedule was crazy, my mind was constantly racing, that meditation and stillness would fall to the wayside. The irony is, these are exactly the times it’s most beneficial to practice. It’s hard in these times to get to that place of stillness, but so important when you know the benefits and can see them play out for yourself.
What I have noticed and try to instill into my daily life is that when I allow myself to slow down, it acts as a gateway to becoming still, and more mindful. It really is a critical starting point and something we can all incorporate into our daily lives.
So if becoming more mindful is something that you have contemplated, or perhaps something you are really conscious of and even practice regularly, I want to encourage you to give it a go, or to keep practicing!
Here are my tops tips to become more mindful:
1. Start you day with 3 deep slow breaths.
Before your feet touch the ground upon waking, sit up and start each day with 3 conscious, slow, deep breaths and begin to carve out a new habit and help set you up for the day ahead.
2. Slow down!
This is the essence and a pathway into mindfulness. Slowing down your pace and speech will allow for the conditions needed to become mindful and in the present moment. It’s not always an easy task with so many places to be and so much to do, but physically slowing down, you are already cultivating mindfulness.
3. Practice meditation.
There are some great apps out there now that you can download for simple guided meditations to suit everyone. I use HeadSpace, which has been amazing and has a variety of topics to suit different aspects of your life. If apps aren’t your thing, it could be as simple as sitting quietly somewhere outside in nature for 5 or 10 minutes, to take some slow deep breaths and tuning out the chatter in your head.
4. Be present: mind, body and soul.
When you are with someone, your child, partner, friend or colleague, be all there. Tune in to all your senses. What can you smell, hear, taste, see and feel? This also means you have to uphold the unspoken agreement you have made with yourself to put down the phone, laptop and the list of a million other things you have to do.
5. Start today, start right now!
There is no better time than the present. Remember mindfulness is a practice, anything involving the mind and training takes time. Be kind to yourself.