After a busy day at the office, hectic social life or a large family gathering, to practice mindfulness is a skill which can bring you closer to the present and make you feel much more at ease with your thoughts.
Have you ever been through periods of your life in which you felt you had little or no control of what was going on around you? Sometimes people feel like that towards the end of their life, or even when simply contemplating the fact that they will die.
The world is a big and scary place, and if you don’t collect your thoughts before venturing out into it, what chance do you have of being able to make a difference?
The question today is, are you in control of how you conduct yourself in the world, or, is the world controlling you? If it is the latter, this blog will be going over tips to help overcome it.
Finding A Genuinely Quiet Place
There is a difference between an area with little noise and a genuinely quiet place.
Until you do this exercise, you won’t realise how difficult it is to find a truly quiet spot to relax.
Cars driving past the road, neighbours making noises or birds chirping outside, it’s a true luxury having quietness and it’s something you may take for granted depending on where you live.
Everybody reading this will have their own unique location, some will be in a city, whereas some may be in an open field, regardless, this exercise can be used for everyone.
Disconnect yourself from all electronics and begin to listen to what’s around you.
This may be difficult at first, but truly try to be as quiet as you can and simply listen to what is happening near you.
If you do this as well as you can, you’ll quickly become very present with your surroundings.
All of a sudden you’ll feel very aware of the noises outside your house, like the wind.
You’ll notice the noises your body makes, like your heartbeat.
And strangely enough, you may even notice the sounds your house makes, yes, your house can make noises!
What I want you to do is practise this exercise of listening and I’d like you to identify which parts of your home (or any other place you’re doing this) has less distractions.
It may be your bathroom or it could be your garden lounge.
Once you’ve found the most quiet spot in your area of choice, you’ll be ready to move onto the next stage of practising true mindfulness.
Breathing And Practising Mindfulness
Now that you’ve got a quiet place to think, it’s time for the fun part.
If you’re familiar with meditation you’ll understand where to go from here.
If not, then this is how breathing plays a large role in helping to practice mindfulness.
Remember earlier on when I asked you to listen for any noises you can hear?
Well now, I want you to exclusively focus on your breathing.
If this is something you’ve not done for a while, or at all, this may feel strange at first.
But once in your quiet place, I’d like you to find a comfy position to sit down (no lying down as you may fall asleep!) and begin to breathe normally, watching your thoughts as you do so.
What will happen is after a few minutes your mind will begin thinking of other thoughts and ideas.
This is normal, simply revert back to your breathing once you notice your thoughts are steering away.
This is arguably the most difficult part of practising mindfulness / meditation and It’s something you’ll develop the more you do it.
Your objective is to be in a quiet place, listen closely to your breathing and eventually – with time – you’ll begin to develop the feeling of being present with your surroundings.
This won’t happen the first time you do this exercise, or the second.
But pick a time each day (preferably the same time to build habits) and do this exercise for 20 minutes or more.
Over time this will help you feel more mindful, more present and less stressed.
You’ll also find other benefits, such as sleeping better and having higher levels of concentration throughout the day.
Start today, and don’t forget to track your results.
Write Down Your Thoughts To Help Practice Mindfulness
So as mentioned before, this is an exercise which should be done over time, not in one session.
And what better way is there to track progress than to write down your thoughts?
Now this part does have a high degree of discretion and every person will tackle it differently.
But importantly, by writing down your thoughts, this doesn’t necessarily mean writing down everything that pops to mind.
Instead, write down how you feel after each session.
Do you feel present?
Are you feeling more energised?
Are there any particular patterns of thought which are beginning to show?
Over time you’ll begin to build habits of mindfulness which you’ll be able to translate to other areas of your life.
Once you become a master at controlling your breath and listening in the moment in your garden for example, who’s to say you can’t do that at work or at a family gathering?
Practising mindfulness is a fantastic way to bring you closer to the present moment, regardless of the setting you’re in.
And with practice, dedication and a commitment for change, you’ll be able to master it and enjoy all the benefits that come along with the practice.