Ever wondered why the simple act of popping bubble wrap can be so satisfying? Or why you can get a buzz of quiet contentment simply by watching orange peel slowly come off in one gratifying piece? One answer could be that Mindfulness plays a big part!
Mindfulness is the practice of simply being; of quieting the background noise to enjoy being fully present in the moment. Headspace and Calm are both great Mindfulness Apps to keep on your phone. However, mindfulness is something you can practice anywhere, anytime even without an app to guide you.
Mindfulness works by focusing our attention on an object or activity. This allows us to quieten down our inner thoughts of “I have to/I should” and be present in the here and now. The best news is that we don’t have to set aside loads of time to fit yet another activity into our already packed day. Your mindfulness practice can just as easily be being mindful and lost in the present whilst stroking a pet, feeling chocolate slowly melt on your tongue or enjoying brushing your hair. The ways of enjoying being present are endless, just see how many you can think of.
Sometimes I’ll admit, it’s hard to shut out the internal chatter in our brains. So, here’s an exercise to help in times of excess brain noise.
Firstly, take some deep breaths in and out, then with two hands, hold a blank sheet of plain white paper at arm’s length. Stare at this paper, concentrate only on that white sheet, and then very slowly (think snail’s pace) move the paper closer, gradually let all other things fade away as the paper comes closer to your eyes.
When other thoughts creep in, and they often will, simply acknowledge them, then move back to focusing on the white paper. After a few minutes, put down the paper and calmly breathe, that’s it, mindfulness! You’ve been focused on the here and now for a few minutes and allowed your brain a rest from thoughts.
Remember, like with most things, mindfulness can take a bit of practice, so be gentle with yourself if it doesn’t work the first time.
Now all that’s left is to give it a go for yourselves!