Let's get super practical....what is mindfulness, and how do you actually be mindful?
Mindfulness, as we define it, is paying attention on purpose, without judgement.
Naturally, when we focus on the task at hand, we bring our awareness into the present moment, which is why mindfulness practices are so great. They release us from the shackles of the past, and from the unknown of the future which is especially important in uncertain times. The current situation we're facing has, no doubt, escalated real fast, real quick, resulting in a lot of change and can be overwhelming. Human beings are creatures of habit and comfort, this amount of change and unknown can easily leave us in a whirlwind of all emotions. How can you find a slice of peace and moments of ease in the chaos that we have been thrown into? Stay present, and take things moment by moment. Focus on what we CAN do vs. what we CANNOT do, focus on what IS working vs. what is NOT working, aka as David Lynch says,
"Keep your eye on the donut, not on the hole "
Here are 3 ways to be present, right here, right now.
1. Seize the moment! One of my favourite practices is a three-breath practice. It can re-ground us instantly and direct our attention to focus on what we need right now. Here's how to do it:
(aim for 3 seconds inhaling, and 3 seconds exhaling)
- First breath: Bring awareness to the breath (notice how the breath feels, where in your body do you feel it, does it feel warm/cool)
- Second breath: Relax the body (target 3 spots, release your jaw, drop your shoulders, and let your eyebrows chill)
- Third breath: Ask yourself "what's important now?"
2. Journal. We hold a lot of things in, we bite our tongue & suppress emotions. When we journal, we bring awareness to what is happening in the moment as you are only focused on writing. An effective way to do this is to free flow write, which means keeping the pen moving and if we run out of things to write we can write "I don't know what to write" but just keep the pen moving and you might be surprised to see what comes up!
Some great journalling prompts are:
- right now I feel...
- things that bring me alive are...
- when I'm at my best I...
Set a timer for 3 minutes per prompt and give them a go! Once you're done, read what you wrote and underline or circle any keywords or patterns! Use this as an opportunity not to judge what you wrote, but to learn more about yourself.
3. Hands on Head. In this practice, we bring our hands our head and direct our attention to our sense of touch. How does your scalp feel? Is your hair really soft? (maybe it's hair washing day!) What textures do you notice? Noticing anything current in this moment about what you are experiencing is a way to instantly reground. However, don't judge what you notice. Just let it be. The focus is on what you're experiencing, not the response to what you're experiencing.
As we navigate through this time, many of us have extra minutes on our hands. I encourage us all to use our time wisely, to try and invest it in ways that will support us now, by building a mindset of presence, strength and resilience, and that will also support us as we move forward. This can be a heavy time, hopefully these practices will help us lighten the load. Let me know which practices you tried and how they worked out!
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