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Tips for living mindfully.


How many of us take the time to stop, and be aware of just how busy our minds are? When it is safe to do so, take a few moments and do nothing. 2 minutes is enough if you have some way of timing this you may find that helpful. The key thing is for the 2minutes try not to be thinking about looking at the clock, try to think about nothing. It may be you do this with another person and you each take turns of saying start and stop. If you have a singing bowl, which can be purchased relatively inexpensively, this is a pleasant way to start and stop a meditation session.

When the 2 minutes are up, reflect how you found that exercise, if you journal, perhaps capture your thoughts in your journal. The question to ask yourself is, how easy did you find it to switch off and just be?

It seems despite advances in technology which should make our lives easier, we find ourselves constantly bombarded with things to do, or think about. 

These may be external around the pandemics and the impact on our lives, to internal influences like how difficult we find deciding to give ourselves even 10minutes a day for our own wellbeing. When we find ourselves being pulled in too many directions, making time for ourselves very easily can slip off our radar. We know we need to do it but…………. add it to the list of everything else we need to do!

There is a term often used in Mindfulness called 'Monkey mind' this draws an analogy between how monkeys can often swing from branch to branch of a tree, not really settling on any branch and how sometimes our thoughts can leap off into umpteen direction never really settling before it finds it's off thinking about something else, and we wonder why sometimes we feel exhausted!

However, life does happen, and it does present challenges. Living mindfully doesn't mean we don't feel overwhelmed at times. What it does offer is an increased awareness of when we are feeling overwhelmed and some techniques to help bring us back to the moment. Learning to respond to what life throws at us can help us adapt and use our energy wisely, as opposed to reacting, which sometimes produces a result we didn't really expect or want. Here is a wee exercise to consider.

Imagine, you are in a queue in the post office, you have been waiting for for ages and its finally your turn and as you step forward someone pushes right in front of you, they say ''sorry ''for bumping into you and take your place at the counter. How do you feel? If you are quite relaxed about this, well done. 

However, for most people, the normal reaction would be to not be pleased about this. If we react to this it may end in a big argument, which may mean even longer to get served or even asking to leave the post office!

If on the other hand, we are aware we are not happy about this, but instead of reacting, we respond then we may find we feel more in control, calmer and less stressed. This doesn't mean we invite people to walk over us. We may say calmly, ''I was next in the queue''. It may be the person is rude to you and that's a shame as rudeness will bring them their own issues without us giving them a hard time. 

However, it may be the person is desperately in a hurry e.g., is a carer for older mum with dementia and she had to leave her alone in the house while she went for her pension and she is so preoccupied with getting the pension and shopping and back to her mum she just wasn't thinking. 

The world is the way the world is and if we learn to accept and let go it can reduce the stress we feel, sometimes we do need to stand our ground, but maybe not as often as perhaps we think we should.

Learning to live Mindfully can help us be more aware of how we feel, offer us tools to help us be in the moment, learn to let go of things which are no longer helpful for us and offer us ways to respond to situations and not react. This site offers some further information

There can be many reasons why we may find our minds are so full we find it hard to be Mindful! And if you need to talk to someone do. There are whit's happening magazines on this website full of resources, also speak to your GP or other health care provider. The following wee tips to live more mindfully do not replace professional advice but may offer something you find helpful.

'' Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing'' Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Centre for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he developed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) 

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