I think it’s pretty safe to say that many of us don’t live in a state of focused awareness. We operate on auto-pilot. And the results of this aren’t always pretty.
If you’re like me, you may be looking to find ways to develop coping mechanisms to deal with the ever demanding pressures of life. Practising mindfulness will help you recognise the signs of building stress and help you manage that stress. It will help you feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
Before I started practising mindfulness, I felt like the mouse running on the wheel, continually racing to finish up some activity, to do list or responsibility. I certainly didn’t operate in the present, I was always thinking about the next task in the future or some problem in the past that I couldn’t put to rest.
70,000 thoughts flow through our mind every day (my head hurts even thinking about that). It is impossible to stop the thoughts but you can stop entertaining them and that is what mindfulness can help you achieve.
Practising mindfulness helps you become purposely aware of your surroundings and the people in your life. Mindfulness creates space – space to breathe, space to think and space to develop appropriate reactions.
- You don't need anything, just an open mind. You can practice anywhere, anytime.
- There is no way to stop those 70,000 thoughts arriving – that’s not what you’re trying to do. The goal isn’t to reach
zen likestate but to pay attention to the present moment. Youmind will drift amongst the 70,000 thoughts – it’s human nature and the mind will try to be anywhere but where you want it to be. The moment you feel youmind engaging with other thoughts, consciously bring it back to the present. And repeat 70,000 times.
- No judgement – we are all guilty of letting that inner critic derail us from time to time. When practising mindfulness, don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts interrupt you. Notice judgements arise, make a mental note and just let them pass, bringing yourself back to the present as quickly as possible.
- Mindfulness is the
practiseof returning, over and over again, to the breath. Breathing helps attach you to the present.
Practising Mindfulness Requires Commitment
Not necessarily. It requires practise and commitment to want to change. The real challenge is to make time every single day.
Like any other change you want to implement in your life – take it slow. The most important thing is just get started:
- Firstly, get comfy and pick a spot where you won’t be interrupted.
- Secondly, set a time limit – if you’re just starting out, pick a short time (5-10 minutes) and increase as mindfulness becomes part of your daily routine.
- As you
starttake note of your body – there is no correct position or no difficult yoga-like pose to get into. Sit, lie or kneel – whatever is comfortable.
- Focus on your breathing – deep breathe in and slowly breathe out – really become aware of your breathing.
- Your mind will wander and that’s OK. Simply acknowledge the deviation and return to your breathing.
- Lastly, do not judge yourself when your mind decides to have a variety show in terms of thoughts. Just return to your breathing time and time again.
In short - that’s how you get started. Give it a go – as a busy, juggling woman you deserve 10 minutes a day just to breathe.
Co-Founder, Pepper Hustle
P.S. I realise there are many who think they don’t have the time or a need for mindfulness. If you fall in that category, next time you take a shower or brush your teeth or eat your lunch, just see how much of the time you are actually present with the activity and how much you are not. You might surprise yourself. Keen to explore stress-free living a bit further? Take a look at The Power of 3 - guaranteed to change your life 💞