The great thing about mindfulness is it's free! Practising mindfulness has changed my life, I used to be a slave to my thoughts and emotions. It was great when those were all positive, but most of the time I would be stressing about something, whether that was work or my relationships, my ego would create its own reality. Thoughts like, ‘Wait until my boss reads my email, he’s going to be angry!’ (even though there is no logical reason he would be). Or, ‘Why hasn’t my girlfriend responded to my text message! She must be dating someone else’ (when in fact her phone ran out of battery).
Mindfulness can be practised anywhere and anytime. It can be as short as 20 seconds to as long as an hour or more. A short practice I do is to stop whatever I am doing, closing my eyes and taking a slow and deep breath. That takes about 20 seconds and has a profound effect on escaping my thoughts, relaxing my body and bringing me back to the present moment.
In this blog I have laid out some points in the day where you can practice mindfulness, pick and choose which ones best fit your needs. All the meditations are 4-5 minutes long, they are designed so they can be easily slotted into your day with minimal disruption. Bookmark this page and whatever time of day it is, come back to this page and listen to one of the meditations.
Waking and bringing the mind and body into alignment
After waking up, the morning is about preparing for the day ahead. We clean ourselves, brush our teeth, have breakfast to replenish the body, get dressed to look good.
The morning is also a good time to spend a few minutes clearing our thoughts, and bringing the mind and body into stillness and into alignment. As when we have the mind and body in sync, and be present in the moment we have clarity and peace. Starting our day like this, allows us to bask in the stillness within, calmness and relaxation spreads through the mind and body. Any agitation or tension dissipates, any negative thoughts and feelings are no more.
By sitting up straight and relaxing the muscles, closing our eyes. Taking a few slow intentional deep breaths. With each breath we feel more light and more relaxed. In this peaceful state we can set an intention for the day. It could be related to the activities for your day such as, ‘May I have a great day at work today’, or it could be as simple as, ‘I am enough’.
Even if it is only for a few minutes, it makes a huge difference in our mental, emotional and physical state. We can go from being tired to being alive, from stressed to calm.
It’s time for a mindful coffee break
It’s been a busy day so far, now it’s time for a coffee break. Taking a break is important to rest, recuperate and reset. We want to avoid mental and physical fatigue, which will impact our stress levels and performance. This can easily be avoided by getting some respite. A coffee break is a great way to remove us from our activities, where we physically distance ourselves and can mentally switch off from what we were doing. Whether it's going to a cafe or fixing up a brew in the kitchen, we have an opportunity to enhance our coffee break with mindfulness.
Using your cup of coffee (or any other beverage) as a point of focus, draw all your attention to the thick, dark, murky elixir in a mug. Observe its surface, is it still like a lake? Or foamy like clouds? How many colours and shades do you see? Are there plumes of steam pirouetting upwards? Watch them dance around as they rise. Take a good sniff of the aromas; how many flavours can you identify? Feel the warm of the cup, do you feel your hands heat up? Finally take a slow slip, as if you were tasting it for the first time! How do you feel?
An evening reflection
We have just finished our dinner and are relaxing after a busy day. Just like in the morning where we brought the mind and body still and into alignment, we do the same in the evening and reflect on our day.
If we try to reflect without bringing ourselves to stillness, our ego can take over and dominate our thoughts. As the ego’s objective is survival, it will flood our thoughts with fear and jealousy among other negative emotions. This is not a healthy state of being. Thus it is imperative that we pause any mind and physical activity, to connect into the present moment.
We can repeat the process of stillness to bring the mind and body together. Sit up straight and close your eyes. Take a few slow, deep breaths. The slower you can go the better. After each breath, feel yourself getting more and more relaxed. If any thoughts arise, once you become aware of them, thank them and let them go. In this present state you can reflect on your day. What are you grateful for that happened today? What successes did you have today? What could have been better? Did you fulfil your morning intention?
Retire into blissful sleep
It’s the night and we are ready to sleep. We have washed up and in need of a good quality sleep. If we physically cleanse ourselves each evening for good hygiene, we must also cleanse our mind for good wellbeing.
If our mind is agitated it can be difficult to get into sleep or get any sleep at all. We may be physically tired but if we have stressful or anxious thoughts, we can trigger a ‘fight or flight’ response which is exactly the opposite state we want to be in to get some sleep.
By taking a few minutes to still the mind and body, we can go from tossing and turning, into stillness and blissful sleep.
Lie in your bed and close your eyes. Get into a comfortable position, take a few slow and long deep breaths. The slower the better, and feel your body relax after each breath. Scan your body from head to toe and release any tension you feel. Listen to the sounds around you, if there is silence be there with it. If you have any thoughts or feelings, once you become aware of them, let them float away, there is no need to comment on them.
May you have a mindful day and free from sufferings from ever turning thoughts and emotions.
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Love and light x