Have you ever wondered what mindfulness really is? And why is it all of a sudden so popular? In our speedy, technology-jammed society the need to find peace and calm has emerged. The West has decided to look to the East for the solution to this issue. And what we found were practices called mindfulness that have endured for over 3,000 year. We started to explore these ancient practices back in the ‘60s with the hippie movement. Then in the ‘70s and ‘80s came the ‘New Age Movement’ which brought mindfulness into the mainstream. What we have learned over the last fifty years is that modern medicine does not answer all of our questions about health and vitality. And that a lot of those questions can be solved with mindful techniques.
For me, mindfulness is about meditation. If you follow me, you know that I have had a journey over many decades with anxiety. Like many, my anxiety affected not only my mind but my body and spirit as well. My personal answer to anxiety came when I sought out solutions that dealt with my unconscious, repetitive thought patterns. That treatment pulled me out of the dark pit of endless rumination and worry. In order to maintain my sense of overall calm and control, I turn to a daily meditation practice. It slows down my mind, replenishes my body, and my soul feels in tune with my higher purpose.
More Than Just Meditation
I have come to realize that mindfulness however, is any practice or approach that slows life down. One that enables you to focus on the present, and makes you aware of everything in the now. It is about bringing your attention away from the past, regretting or rewriting your history. And prevents you from worrying about the future. It turns your focus to the here and now. And in that state of being, in the beautiful present moment, you can feel connected to all things but concerned about nothing. It is amazingly paradoxical.
So what would be a good way to start the day mindfully? After some research and a lot of trial and error, I have come up with some helpful hints. With the intention of full disclosure, I will say that I am still working towards implementing these habits into my daily routine and not to the point of where I have mastered them.
- To set up your day mindfully, do not leave the house in the morning hungry. The nagging feeling of hunger will draw your attention away from the present moment.
- With the goal now to have breakfast, it is important to work time into your morning to prepare it. There are a lot of things you can do the night before to make this job a lot easier. Soaking oats the night before, or preparing a breakfast sandwich, which just needs warmed up, are good options.
- Set a place at the table to eat your breakfast free from distractions like TV, radio, phone, tablet or computer. Take the time to eat the food slowly. Taste the different flavours and savour the moment. Eating on the run is bad for both digestion and mental state. It is also good to know that slow release foods like oatmeal can help you stay calm and energised throughout the morning.
- And lastly, clear the table before your leave. That way you avoid mess anxiety when you get home.
I am growing into my mindful mornings habits, after years of running out the door without regard or respect to how I was setting myself up for a day of feeling chased and frazzled. How do you start your day? Are you setting yourself up for a day of centeredness? I invite you to join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.
To our health and wellbeing,