How often do you fully attend to your day to day activities? Ever forget the details of your journey to work? Ever eat your food so quickly that you couldn’t really describe how it tasted? Ever complete a task like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes and spend the entire time thinking about what jobs you have to do that day? Yes? Well you are not alone.
It is easy to rush through life, getting so caught up in our thoughts that we are unable to be fully present in the current moment. This is where mindfulness comes in. It is the practice of creating more awareness by tuning into the present moment, your immediate surroundings, thoughts and feelings. Using our body is a fantastic way to connect us to the present. Our bodies, unlike our thoughts, can only be in the present.
Using our body, utilising our senses can help to bring our thoughts back from the past or future to the present moment.
The advantages of incorporating mindfulness into your life include:
- Improved mental wellbeing.
- Feeling less overwhelmed.
- Learning to recognise unhelpful patterns in our thinking.
- Better able to manage thoughts and feelings.
There are a variety of ways to practice mindfulness. There are formal practices such as, meditation, mindful movement and mindful breathing. All are fantastic practices to create awareness. However, if you are just starting out a great way to incorporate mindfulness into your day is to take a specific activity, slow it down and engage your senses.
“Mindfulness is the practice of creating more awareness by tuning into the present moment, your immediate surroundings, thoughts and feelings”.
If you are out walking, for example, tune into the sounds of the birds, dogs barking, traffic, feel the wind, rain or sun on your skin. Take in the smells around you. This can be done with any activity; brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, eating a meal, playing with your children, interacting with a pet. Be prepared for thoughts to interrupt your attention. This is normal, don’t judge these thoughts, acknowledge them and let them float past like clouds in the sky or a flowing stream.
This takes practise but the key is to observe your thoughts without judgement, don’t argue with them, don’t try to challenge them. Bring your attention back to your body, back to the present. Go on, give it a try. Practise a mindful activity for a week and note what difference it makes. Enjoy the experience of living your life directly.
If you are affected by stress and feel you need to talk about it or find a way to cope with it then contact Capital CBT at www.capitalcbt.com