Mindfulness, the hot topic of 2014 and a word you'll be hearing a lot more of in 2015. But what is Mindfulness?
The basis of mindfulness if being mindful – slowing down - living in the moment rather than focusing on the past and worrying about the future. This is part of the ROOTED philosophy...we practise mindfulness and living consciously each and every day.
Studies by two psychologists at Harvard found that people spend half their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are actually doing – and that the mind wandering makes them unhappy. Statistically, the only activity where people’s mind doesn’t wander is during sex (go figure) and I bet a few of you reading this even think about what your to-do list is for the next day whist having a bit of boom boom on a Thursday night!
Who can blame us? Work, play, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tinder...we are a busy society who are increasingly addicted to our mobile phones, or dare I say, a society in constant fear of 'missing out'. Furthermore, we can buy a handbag at 3am (insomnia??!) and have it delivered by lunch time. We don’t want for anything anymore so we seem to have forgotten to be happy with what we've actually got. Why? Just love your lot!
For us, Mindfulness is a way of thinking, a lifestyle for thoughts which can help alleviate stress, anxiety and emotional issues amongst other things. Think of the neural pathways in your brain when you worry or feel frustrated for example. If you practice it, make it part of everyday life, you become good at it. Your neural pathways function with worry and until you find a solution, you’ll think like that consistently. Mindfulness helps to rebalance these neural pathways so thoughts can be clearer AND cleaner.
Mindfulness teaches us to live in the moment, be mindful (to ourselves and others), let go (of bad straits and thoughts) and teach us to keep ourselves grounded and balanced. Below are our six introductory tips to Mindfulness:
1. Put your phone away!
How often are you sitting at the dinner table with friends, all of you on your phone taking pictures, tweeting, telling the universe where you are and what your doing, eating, drinking. ENOUGH...Put your phone and enjoy the company around you. A quick picture post fine, but not all night! This is living IN the moment! Another tip is to turn your notifications off. If phones are buzzing every 5 minutes no wonder people don't feel alert and like they get things done anymore. We are constantly reminded of the what's going on everywhere else so we don't focus on what is happening now. We can personally say this has changed our lives. Let it change yours.
2. Notice your breathing. Take a deep breath
You breathe and you breathe for now, not tomorrow or yesterday. Pay attention to your breathing and breathe more…2 minutes a day is fine either first or last thing, or in times of stress (lock yourself in the work loo if need be!). For those who feel comfortable, meditate and do it for longer - 10 minutes a day. Head space is a good app for beginners, plus you can download meditations for on-the-go.
3. Slow down – do one thing at a time
Single task – don’t multi task! When you’re eating, just eat. When cooking dinner, just cook dinner. Do less – stop trying to fill so much time and be good to everyone. Prioritize you, take some time and make space. Don’t plan things too close together – making your day / week / month more flexible. You are the centre of your universe, YOU.
4. Live in the here and now
Notice what you are doing as you are doing it and tune into your senses. When you are eating, notice the colour, texture and taste of the food. When your friend is talking about her day, listen, don't listen with one ear and text with the other! You'll begin to notice and enjoy the finer things in life. We all like nice things but what we already have around us (nature, love, relationships) is already enough, if you can train yourself to live it, and love it.
5.Learn to accept
Recognize that thoughts are simply thoughts; you don’t need to believe them or react to them. Acceptance is a key factor of ‘wellbeing’ - accepting yourself, others, failure, success, gratitude etc…once you accept, you can move on.
6.Pay attention to your life, not your needs
Want, want, want - sound like you? Slow down and try not to 'want' something for a week - by this I mean shoes, handbags, new phones, expensive wine. Swop this and do what really makes you happy. Draw, a yoga class, a cuddle with your man - trust me the satisfaction will be much greater.
If you want to delve deeper into Mindfulness we recommend reading Mindfulness by Gill Hasson or Mindfulness, a Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman which also comes with a CD of guided meditations.