I keep having moments of wishing that time would slow down. Being on holiday recently and my littlest turning one a few months ago has made me more aware of time passing. I want to take it all in and make sure I'm not missing anything!
Life moves so fast now that days, weeks and months can pass in a blur as we try to keep up with everything. It can leave you feeling stressed, rushed and anxious and can mean we forget to take a moment to simply... be.
It's only by slowing down and switching out of autopilot that we can really take things in.
When was the last time you went for a walk and really noticed the colours around you, or listened to the sounds of the birds? When was the last time you actually savoured the taste of your dinner? Without being on your phone at the same time or thinking about all the things you had to do next?
Thinking, planning, having a busy mind or focusing on worries and problems can become a habit - mindfulness aims to break those habits.
Helping you become more practiced at noticing what's going on, right now in the present. In the life you're actually living rather than a past that's gone or a future that's yet to arrive. Today is the only day you can actually do something about so it's important you're actually in it!
Practising mindfulness increases levels of happiness and wellbeing long-term; and people who practice regularly report feeling less anxious, stressed, depressed, exhausted and irritable.
Everyday for the next week (5-10 mins a day), try to become more aware of what is happening around you in the present moment. Let your attention get lost in the outside world! You can do it anytime anywhere. Use all of your senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell to take it in.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- When you're listening to music pay attention to the different instruments that are playing, the lyrics of the song and the pitch changes.
- Sit quietly and pay attention to any sounds in the room and any sounds you can hear outside
- Look around you, what can you see? What colours are there? Where is there light and where is there shade?
- Think about textures, are the objects around you hard or soft? Ridged or smooth? How would they feel if you touched them?
- When you eat your next meal, really pay attention to the food, what does it look like? How does it smell? How does it feel in your mouth? How does it taste when you bite into it?
You'll probably find that even when you're trying to look out, your mind will be pulled back in to thinking. It's completely normal that this happens, our mind naturally wanders and it's an old habit you're trying to break. When this does happen, just observe the thoughts and then re-focus your attention on the present moment and shift from thinking back to being.
Mindfulness practice doesn't have to be 10 minutes on your own each day, it's being present and engaged with the things you're doing that you care about. Whilst it's harder to keep up when you're not on holiday, it is possible to do it for small pockets of time each day.
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