You hear ‘mindfulness’ banded about all the time, but what does it actually mean and how can it make you feel better everyday, asks Sarah Brooks-Wilson...
You think being a busy mum and being mindful are like two contradictory things, but as Jacqui Lewis, Vedic meditation expert and founder of The Broad Place tells us, it’s actually easy to do and will bring about a profound sense of peace, calm and clarity to even the most stressful days.
“Practicing mindfulness is all about being in the now, an awareness in the present moment,” she says. And, while it isn’t only about sitting cross-legged, following your breath and quieting the mind, it’s also more importantly about striving to live every moment of your life and discovering the beauty of the present moment. “Mindfulness is really about shining a spotlight on your entire life, that is every aspect of your being, and not just as a simple stress reliever or performance enhancer you do for 15 minutes each day.”
We’ve become so accustomed to multitasking and trying to cram as much as we can into a day, that its no wonder we collapse by 10pm and can’t sleep. Lewis says that everyone can practice mindfulness, it’s not an art, it’s simply doing one thing at a time. “That’s not checking emails whilst walking the dog and talking to your sister on the phone whilst walking. It’s just bathing, while just bathing. Not checking Facebook while bathing the kids, with earphones in so you can talk hands free to a friend whilst motioning “use soap’ with a stern look on your face.” She says that when we divide our attention nothing is absorbed, every moment is fractured. “By doing one thing well and then moving onto the next you’ll have a much better quality of life.”
Aside from this simple connection with your daily life, sitting with your eyes closed with awareness on your breath for five to 10 minutes a day will instantly calm the nervous system. And, come on, everyone has five minutes. “It’s also an emotional thing,” explains Lewis. “Observing the emotions that pass through us rather than always engaging with them and believing them to be true is another mindfulness technique that will dramatically make a difference to your life. Life is meant to be enjoyed and it can only be enjoyed in the here and now.”
So becoming more aware of yourself- what you do each day, what you think and what you feel – and everything occurring around you in the present moment will literally change everything about your life, or perhaps more accurately it changes nothing but your perspective. When you have a bad day, rooting yourself to the present moment with mindfulness will not just allow you to weather the storm, but allow you to continue to find beauty in your daily life.
So, next time you take a walk in the park, just take a walk in the park. Resist the urge to listen to music, talk on your phone, or even drink a coffee. Just do one thing at a time and see how much better you feel.