Mindfulness in the Moment: How to be more present in your day to day life
Mindfulness has become the new black in the world of well-being. What began as a spiritual practice in Buddhism, has been put under the microscope and found to have multiple health benefits. Neuroscience has made a remarkable discovery. Mindfulness meditation activates the home of positive emotions in the brain, which is the left pre-frontal cortex. Regular practice of this form of meditation can develop your capacity for happiness without having to do mental gymnastics!
In a nutshell, mindfulness is about developing your awareness. You’d think that something so straightforward would come easily, but in the 21st century where we are bombarded 24/7 by digital devices and multiple demands, it’s no surprise that the average attention span is shorter than ever. We weren’t designed to be constantly on the go, frantic and frazzled.
Mindfulness reminds us that we are a human being rather than a ‘human doing’. The practices draw attention, without judgement, to what is going on in the mind, body and around us. This helps us to tune into how the mind operates. ‘Monkey mind’ is the constant internal monologue swinging from one critical thought to another. Mindfulness helps us slow down and recognise these thoughts and feelings. As like the weather, they come and go, so we are less likely to get sucked into the drama of our thoughts. This can help with rumination (overthinking problems) which dampens down emotional reactivity being triggered into an overreaction.
Meditation is probably the most recognised form of mindfulness, where you can start with something as simple as noticing the breath going in and out. The senses are a good way into mindfulness. Try doing the washing up by hand. Slow down and notice the sensation of hot and cold water on the hands, the sound of water running into the sink, the fragrance of washing-up liquid and the welcome sight of the dishes going from dirty to clean.
Mindful walking is another readily accessible practice. Next time you go for a walk, tune in with each of your senses. Ask yourself:
- What can I see? Notice what is around you – grass, trees, people, buildings.
- What can I hear? The sound of birds, wind, traffic, people chatting.
- What can I smell? A whiff of coffee, something cooking, the sweet scent of flowers.
- What can I taste? Toothpaste, a hot drink or maybe digestive juices in the mouth.
- What can I feel? Try taking your shoes off to really appreciate the sensation of contact with the ground.
You can even bring mindfulness into your me-time. Craft activities such as knitting, mosaics and quilting are good ways of becoming present. “There’s a bonus too – making things with your hands produces serotonin, the feel-good hormone which lifts the mood and calms the mind, according to the authors of Craftfulness, a new book exploring the link between crafting and well-being.
Ryvita has teamed up with Miriam Akhtar, Positivity Coach to be part of their Positivity Panel alongside Davina McCall. The panellists were handpicked to help inspire women across the nation to feel confident and happy, whatever their age, through advice, tips and tricks. Head to https://www.ryvita.co.uk/living-well to find out more.
Pictures courtesy of pixabay.com under creative commons licence.