Do you ever find yourself rewinding the movie you're watching over and over again? Do you have to read the same paragraph multiple times? Most people are unmindful several times a day; simply being unaware of their surroundings or what's going on. Practicing mindfulness improves both your mental and physical health.
What exactly does "conscious living" mean? In a nutshell, it means to be aware of your thoughts, speech and actions in every moment without causing harm to yourself or those around you. This basic approach to life may sound simple, but after centuries of tribal conditioning, living with absolute awareness requires deliberate observation and on going personal development.
I liken 'Mindfulness' similar to any other new activity or skill we wish to master and bring into our life. In other words just as an instrument will not learn itself, needs practise and dedication, so does a change in our thought process. In whatever way we wish to enhance our life and well being, we have to put in the effort.
Are my clothes shrinking in the wash or what? Following non-stop dinner and cocktail parties over the Christmas/New Year period - with over-indulgence in food and drink and little rest - the evidence is now on display. A bulge at the waistline, skin filling out in the wrong places, extra layers added to chin and thighs.
Christmas is the time of cheer and happiness. But how many of you are fretting about the getting together of relatives and in-laws, panicking about what to cook, wear, eat, do, buy, how to get on with the extended family, let alone your own - under the same roof, and for some, how to cope with loneliness at Christmas?
A life audit could literally save your life and sanity. It can be the difference between living life by default or living the rest of your life by design. Yes, that's right, you do have choices and you can design your life the way you want it to be. The first steps are being honest and aware of what's not working in your life right now and knowing how you'd prefer things to be.
Going back to university at 50+ was never going to be easy. One day I was talking to my tutor, discussing aspects of my thesis, when a hot flush struck. Blood sped to my face, increasing pressure alarmingly like a kettle on the boil. My face bubbled with sweat. The discussion stopped abruptly and my mind went blank.
Encouraged to drink in order to manage career related stress, many of these women are said to have gone on to become career women and mothers who have exchanged their beers for wine, and from drinking heavily in public to drinking heavily behind closed doors. In other words, they have become reliant on this vice, one that can destroy careers, relationships, and mental and physical health.
Banker or binman, care worker or chief executive, we are all fundamentally the same. We all want to be happy. Each of us wants to feel proud of our achievements and to be respected for them. We all seek a partner and family who love us. Everyone strives for a meaningful, satisfying life. These shared goals and desires are what make us human.
So, if the thought of meditation has always brought to mind those images of the Lycra-clad, wheatgrass guzzling fitness junkies that we associate with such leg bending practices; throw the Zen-like guru stereotype out the window, place your derriere on your chair of choice and simply meditate away...