Are you like me and just don’t seem to always have time to fit everything in? This raises the question, how can I fit in the practise of mindfulness when I’m so damn busy?
Mindfulness is a very simple form of meditation, where one focusses on the breath and is aware constantly of the moment. By being mindful, you focus only on the present moment, drawing your attention away from that which is past or thinking about the future. The practise of mindfulness allows you to seize negative thinking before it tips you into a downward spiral. Practise of mindfulness means to look at stressful situations as an observer and allow those situations to pass by, rather like black clouds floating away over the horizon.
Meditation is a great tool in helping reverse the effects of stress and in calming the mind and emotions. When under threat the adrenal glands release certain hormones so that the body can prepare for the “flight or fight” response. This in turn causes the muscles to tense, blood pressure to increase making our heart beat more intensely and our breathing to become faster and shallower.
Early on in my life I experienced quite severe panic attacks. This was in part my body’s reaction to stress; part of my own fight or flight response. This response is part of our ancestral make-up when we had to run from wild animals or at times of real danger. In today’s life some people find that this response is provoked not only at times of real danger but also when people are faced with what they perceive as stressful situations. For me when I had panic attacks, they could be triggered off by being in unfamiliar or stressful situations. I regularly had panic attacks in big stores, thinking people were watching me. Through my mindfulness and meditation practise, I no longer have regular panic attacks.
So, how can we practise mindfulness on the go? Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite easy to fit in little snippets of mindfulness during the day.
- Whilst driving. Switch off the music, take a few deep breaths and focus on your breathing. Maintain full focus of the road, being mindful and present as you drive. If you feel your mind wander off, bring it back to the road. Drive purposefully, not rushing and don’t react angrily to other drivers. Exercise kindness along your journey. I often do this just for a for the first few minutes of my journey to work each morning.
- Whilst walking the dog (or any other walking activity). Focus on the feet and visualise all tension melting away into the earth as you walk. Bring your attention to the scenery; a tree, a flower, a leaf. Appreciate the beauty and wonder around you. Be only in the present moment.
- Whilst at work. Whilst sat at your desk take a few moments to connect with your breathing. Be present and at one with the moment. Take a few minutes before diving into activity. Take a few moments to reconnect to the moment during the course of the day. If you have no desk and or find yourself in a stressful situation, shut yourself in a toilet cubicle for a few minutes and take a few long, deep, breaths. Allow yourself to focus on your breathing for a few moments and be present.
- Whilst at the gym. Here you really can focus on your breath. Be present and mindful of the moment. Be an observer. Allow your gym time to be part of your mindfulness, even if it is only for a few minutes.
- At various times in the day. Focus on the breath, find space and be present.
These are just a few ideas of mindfulness on the go. Being mindful is a skill that can be worked on at any time of the day. A few minutes here and there can add up during the course of the day. The more you practise the easier it becomes. It’s all about finding that inner space between moments that helps to calm the mind and ease the soul.
- Photo by Nandhu Kumar from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/amazing-balance-blur-boulder-312839/