Virgin Active blog
Make mindfulness work for you
From candlelit yoga classes to adult , these days the concept of mindfulness is so popular even members of parliament are getting in on the act and hosting special initiatives. What started as a tradition has grown into a stress-buster, but how has it become so ‘hip’, and why now?
According to mindfulness expert and author of Mindfulness for Dummies, Shamash Alidina, the sudden surge in popularity of mindfulness is linked to several factors.
Since the late a number of scientists have publicly backed mindfulness as having the potential to help with the reduction of chronic pain, anxiety, stress, depression psoriasis. And, aside from the science, perhaps even more influential has been the growing need to break free from the distracting, fast pace of modern life.
With phones, laptops and other devices surging in popularity, we’re living in a hyper-connected world where switching off is more difficult than ever. This constant connectivity has thrown us into a puddle of digital distraction, and with that distraction comes a feeling of inefficiency, dissatisfaction stress.
Mindfulness acts as a relief, argues Alidina. It’s something you can ‘do’ that gives you permission to break free from the stresses of everyday life. It allows you to feel your body and your breath, and it encourages you to listen to the sound of the wind, to go for a walk or to enjoy nature. Mindfulness can be such a release that more and more people are compelled to practice it.
As simple as noticing the taste of your food, the feeling of breathing or the smile on your face, there are a variety of ways to mindfulness. Some methods are simple, and others more challenging – the trick is to find one that appeals to you and give it a go.
Mindfulness is a lifelong journey, not a quick fix, but by building it into your everyday routine it can help you to better understand your emotions, and improve your relationships.
To help you on your road to discovering mindfulness, here are some easy methods you can try today…
Look for green
The next time you go for a walk notice all the things that are green – trees, grass, weeds, cars – by doing so you’ll calm your busy mind and step into the present moment. That’s what mindfulness is all about; living in the here and now.
Get into a nice, comfortable seated position and close your eyes. Take a few moments to notice how your body feels and begin to focus on your breath. On your first breath in count ‘one’, on your next breath out count ‘two’, and so on, all the way up to ten.
Having done that, start again and repeat the process for any length of time between 5-20 minutes. At the end notice how clear your mind feels.
Letting go of past and future thoughts
Imagine you’re holding two really heavy suitcases – one represents your past, filled with your regrets and past experiences, the other represents your future, packed with your worries, plans dreams. Imagine slowly lowering the bags to the ground – first the past, and then the future. Do you notice any feeling of lightness? Enjoy some time living in the present moment. Give yourself a rest from the weight of the past and future.
Do nothing for 10 minutes a day
Have you noticed how you’re always doing something? Well, here’s your invitation to do absolutely nothing. For 10 minutes each day, or however long you can manage, see if you can simply sit there and be in the present – no emails, no texting, no cleaning, no worrying and no .
It’s a simple idea, but not quite as easy as it sounds, your mind may start screaming at you, but persevere, beyond that noise is a place of immense peace, calm joy. Step by step you’ll begin to find the task easier, and you’ll discover the pleasure of doing less and being more.