It’s time for another dose of the “Your New Normal” series, designed to help you make simple changes to become healthier and happier. Each month I share the theme; a habit to change and I post a few articles on the topic to give you a bit of encouragement to make the change.
This month’s topic is how to be more mindful, using meditation to assist you. I’ll let you in on a little secret – this month’s topic is one where I need to take my own advice, as I definitely DO NOT meditate…it’s something I say over and over again, “oh yes I should start meditating. I’ve got an app about it”…”I’ve heard meditating is very good for you, I’m going to start soon”…”maybe I’ll try Mindful May” blah blah blah.
But I don’t ever actually do anything about it. Do we need to? Why is it so hard? Why are we obsessed with “mindfulness”?
Why is everyone talking about mindfulness?
I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on this whatsoever, but it’s something I think about a lot so here goes my reasoning. I think we are all talking about mindfulness as everyone is so busy all.the.time. No matter who you speak to, when you say “how are you?” we all (ok a lot of us) say “good – just so busy though”. I know I do it myself (and I hate it, force of habit!). We have so much information thrown at us everyday and we are so aware of what everyone else is doing that we can easily become overwhelmed with life.
So we need to take time each day to stop, slow down and appreciate the little things. To enjoy being alive. That’s being mindful and why it’s on everyone’s lips!
Due to the hectic pace of life – once we take a little time to be more mindful, I think this helps us think more about what we really want from life. When you are caught up in a rush of “busy” – you don’t even have time to think!
How do we be more mindful?
As I always say, there is no one size fits all approach to this – you need to find whatever works for you. Some people love being super busy and might just need a little bit of time each day to reflect on things, others may love a long meditation session – it’s personal. If you don’t do something that resonates with you, you won’t stick to it. The most important thing is just to try some form of mindfulness each day. Some easy ways are:
- Keep a gratitude journal – make a time each day (it’s easier to stick to if you agree a specified time in your head!) to record some things to be appreciative for.
- Breathe – sounds obvious, but I mean taking time out to take a few deep breaths and relax. Do it first thing when you wake up (not going to happen for me!), during the day (especially good if you’re feeling overwhelmed) or just before bed.
- Pilates/Yoga/Stretching – I have mentioned this in another post about how to start your day, but this really works! Try and set a time to do some brief stretching each day, which will force you to focus on the task at hand (well if you don’t have toddlers crawling on you I guess!).
- Stop – another obvious one, but instead of just rushing around take some time to stop and just be in that moment. Instead of rushing from the car into the shops, stop and listen if your child points out a plane or birds to you. A simple act like that can help ease stress in an instant!
How does Meditation help?
Meditation allows us to focus just on what is happening in that exact moment, instead of our brains rushing off onto thinking about what’s for dinner or where you need to be next. It provides you with true “quiet time”. By “practising” meditating, you become better at it and it should become easier to be mindful (and present in the moment). Also as I mentioned, if you have a set time to do something, it’s easier to form a habit and therefore stick to it.
But what would I know, I’ve never actually been able to meditate for any extended period of time. So how on earth can I help you guys? Well stick with me – here is how I think we can work on this one!
So what’s my habit to change?
Given I’m no “meditator”, I’m going to suggest to you something I have been trying to do of late – taking time out to breathe each day. Pick a set time and take a few deep breaths, concentrating on the in and out breath and nothing else. Let go of any tension you are feeling and relax in the moment. If you start thinking about something, try and let it go.
And that’s it. This is my “cheat’s meditation” – I’m hoping perhaps it will lead me onto actual meditation, so we will see.
So tell me honestly – do you meditate? Or take time out to breath and be present each day? If you do, I’d love some tips. If you don’t – are you going to try now???
Welcome to…Wellness Wednesday!!!
It’s also time for another Wellness Wednesday! Every Wednesday, myself and the lovely Dr Sash over at From The Left Field open a link up and we’d love to see your wellness posts! Anything from clean eating, to fitness, to taking care of your body, taking care of your mind, taking care of the kids, whatever makes you feel good and keeps you well. Simply post your fave wellness post for the week. Sound good? Come join us! x