Have you ever tried to untie a knot in a hurry? You desperately tug at it, randomly pulling at it, twisting it in different directions, only to find the knot becomes even more knotted than than it was in the first place.
But if you slow down and pay proper attention to the knot, you can usually work out which way the wire, thread or chain is twisted, and it becomes so much easier to unravel.
That slowing down and paying attention in order to come to a good solution is what Mindfulness meditation is all about. Instead of constantly surging through your day, carrying a load of stress you didn't even know you had, Mindfulness teaches you to untangle yourself so that you can better cope with life.
Mindfulness is essentially focusing your attention on the present moment and what is going on for you.
It allows you to 'check in' with yourself. Often we can build up stress or anxiety over time without even realising what is happening to us - until it's too late and we hit meltdown.
Scanning your body for feelings of tension and stress means you can identify them and take corrective action, rather than let them carry on building up until they take you to breaking point.
Furthermore, just being aware of how you're feeling on one particular day means you can adjust your responses to compensate for any emotional imbalance. If you know you're feeling stressed, you can avoid taking it out on others. If you know you're in a state of heightened emotion, you can avoid making major decisions that day.
As a therapist, I use Mindfulness with my clients regularly, because it has the added bonus of allowing an essential moment of reprieve during troubling times. Mindfulness allows us to stop for a moment, to breathe, just to be.
With practice, Mindfulness allows us to do less worrying about the past and fretting about the future. We often feel stress and anxiety because our head is elsewhere in a world of worry, rather than focusing on the present moment and what we can achieve in it.
Mindfulness allows us to reconnect with ourselves, which is otherwise difficult in the fast-paced world we live in, where demands on our time and attention are relentless.
Just ten minutes of Mindfulness meditation in the morning can set you up for a much better day than if you were to rush headlong at it without giving yourself the time to stop, think, feel and embrace your day with that extra wisdom of knowing yourself and how you are today.
Be mindful. Be conscious. Live life wisely and fully.