Wednesday, 25 September 2013

What is Mindfulness?

A glimpse of my property from the side of the road on an
early morning walk

Mindfulness is a word I keep hearing lately - in magazines, on the net and (which I thought strange at the time) at my doctors surgery. It's not a new word, nor is the practice of mindfulness a recent one. It has been instrumental in Buddhist and  Hindu teachings for generations, is taught in universities and practised by medical practitioners. By consciously seeking to improve my health and wellbeing I have now identified that what I have been doing actually has a name. So what is mindfulness exactly?

In simple terms (because I love simple), mindfulness is about slowing down, taking the time to live in the moment and making a conscious decision to appreciate the here and now. The crucial part of this definition for me, and for those I know who could benefit from this philosophy, is the 'conscious decision'. I have always been a firm believer in looking on the positive side of things and I often joke to my kids, especially when we are in the middle or aftermath of a crisis (like a flood) that we need to put our rose-coloured glasses on and look for those bright sides, or wake up and smell the roses as my nanna used to say. With a flood, for them it may be that they get new stuff or get to replace something that was broken anyway, or a couple of days off school. For me it may be that I get to have a clean and organised downstairs with less clutter once the hard work is all done.

Bright sides (and roses to smell) are not always obvious and sometimes you do have to look for them, to make that conscious decision. When we flood if I don't look ahead, past the clean up, and search for a meaning or reason to appreciate the here and now, I would go insane. It is okay to be cranky that your house is flooded but at the end of the day, being thankful for your wonderful family and everyone being safe is my 'appreciating the here and now'.

In my day to day life I work full time from 8.30am-5pm so I plan my mindful moments. In the mornings I go for a walk, listen to the birds sing and occasionally come across a kangaroo or two if I am lucky. I appreciate the early morning light shining through the leaves of the trees, and am mindful of the fact that I am so lucky to be up and about to witness it. Why would I want to sleep in?

These walks on the road and wanders through the garden not only help keep me fit, they also set me up for my day at work. Rather than just rushing out stressed like I used to with kids in tow and a messy kitchen left behind, I now leave with a sense of peace and accomplishment because I have made the conscious decision to appreciate the here and now.

The bridge over Six Mile Creek, which is the source of
our flooding, even looks good in the morning

After watering the garden, my fresh bread which I put on timer in the breadmaker overnight, is ready to slice. I inhale the wonderful aroma as I walk in the door and pull out my bowl of oatmeal that is still warm in the microwave. I then grab a cup of coffee and a slice of buttered toast, and read the daily news before I wake the hubby and kids....bliss.

There are many more examples of mindfulness I can think of such as my daily walk in my lunch break and my gym workout after work (which gives me time to process my day), but I am curious...what do you do that is mindful? Do you take the time to smell the roses? Have you heard of mindfulness before?

Jean Hailes for Womens Health, who have a free magazine for women, have a great article on mindfulness this month. Check it out here Jean Hailes Mindfulness. Subscribe to their magazine while you are there. They post it to you for nothing and it is very informative.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...