Mindfulness is a unique and calming habit that people from all walks of life can learn and successfully incorporate into their lives to create a healthier, happier mind space. It is described by Ph.D. psychologist, Marsha Lucas as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” This description exemplifies what it means to be present, to inhabit your body fully, and appreciate your daily gifts with a practiced mind.
Being mindful for a few minutes right as you wake up is a great way to set the ‘tone’ for the rest of your day, impacting you as deeply as your nervous system. When you wake up, don’t check your phone, turn on the television or engage with any technology until you have sat down with your cup of tea and tuned into your body, what you are feeling physically and emotionally and concentrated on your breath.
You can encourage mindfulness in your daily life by choosing a prompt that will remind you to practice mindfulness – this works best if the prompt is something you encounter on a regular basis. For example, you can make a certain painting in your office hallway your prompt, or the activity of drinking a cup of tea or coffee throughout your day. These regular and fairly frequent prompts should remind you to sit, breathe and consider your environment in peace for a few minutes.
Marsha Lucas says that our brains respond best to shorter, more frequent bursts of mindfulness, as opposed to drawn-out, laborious sessions that defeat the object entirely. Twenty minutes is the goal for most mindful individuals, but beginners should start with just a few minutes a day so that it feels less like a chore, and more like a deep exploration that grows organically. Try asking yourself questions such as “How do my clothes feel on my body right now?”, “How do my shoulders feel right now?”. Are they tight, loose, pressurising, relaxed?
Whilst conducting a mindfulness session, consider any negative thoughts you have, or tendencies to be self-scrutinous. Regard these thoughts as simply ‘alternative thinking’ and revert your attention to measured breath and awareness. Your physical and mental health are equally important, and you should never disregard yourself nor your emotions. Whilst all emotions are real and valid, not all of them are ‘true’ nor very kind, especially when self-directed. Allow your kindness to extend to yourself.
Take a look at the Loving Ashes’ blog for more uplifting and thoughtful articles that may help you to navigate loss, understand grief and nurture gratitude in your daily life. Contact us for any queries, and we will get back to you promptly.