I found finding time in my busy day for mindfulness and meditation a challenge at first, but after a few weeks worth of practice, it’s not as easy as brushing my teeth, and really doesn’t have to take any longer – sometime I will even meditate in the shower…
I simply take 10 minutes in the morning, and 10 minutes in the evening to be mindful and associate myself into the present. The benefits are huge for me. I find that my mind is clearer, my stress levels are reduced and I am a much nicer person because of it.
Give these two techniques a go for the next week. You are talking about taking just 20 minutes out of your day only and you can take that time while you are doing other things anyway – even having you shower…
Let me know how you get on.
Becoming mindful – Technique 1:
Creating space to come down from the worried mind and back into the present moment has been shown to be enormously helpful to people. When we are present we have a firmer grasp of all our options and resources which often make us feel better. Next time you find your mind racing with stress, try the acronym S.T.O.P.:
S – Stop what you are doing, put things down for a minute.T – Take a breath. Breathe normally and naturally and follow your breath coming in and of your nose. You can even say to yourself “in” as you’re breathing in and “out” as you’re breathing out if that helps with concentration. O – Observe your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. You can reflect about what is on your mind and also notice that thoughts are not facts and they are not permanent. If the thought arises that you are inadequate, just notice the thought, let it be, and continue on. Notice any emotions that are there and just name them. Recent research out of UCLA says that just naming your emotions can have a calming effect. Then notice your body. Are you standing or sitting? How is your posture? Any aches and pains. P – Proceed with something that will support you in the moment. Whether that is talking to a friend or just rubbing your shoulders.
And next time you take a shower – Technique 2:
What would happen if instead of thinking about all the plans you had to catch up on while you were in the shower, you took a pause, and then brought your nose to the smell of the soap… and again, just exploring the scent of it with your nose… What would happen if you then brought your attention to just feeling the sensation of the warm water against your skin and the feeling of goose bumps that might be there from the contrast of coming in from the cold? Oh… then the mind drifts back again about who you need to call at work, why are you doing this stupid practice, the upcoming meetings, when you need to pick up your kids, what you need to buy for dinner, as you begin to speed up and the tension mounts. What would happen if you noticed this, said to yourself “there goes my mind again”, and then brought your attention back into the shower where you were right now. How might your experience be different? How might your mood be different when getting out of the shower? Would you be more or less reactive with your family or whoever you came in contact with next?