The first time I heard about Mindfulness was a few years ago, when I started reading Wellness magazines. I thought that it sounded interesting and that it was something I should do more often but as always, once you close the magazine, you forget about it.
When visiting La Crisalida Retreat, in Spain, near Alicante, I came across that topic again. We had a workshop about Mindfulness with the lovely Amanda from South Africa.
She explained us that Mindfulness wasn’t only about meditating or getting in a state of trance but little daily things like when you walk your dog listen to the birds, to smell the trees and flowers or when you eat to really taste what is in your mouth.
One of my bad habits is that I eat my breakfast (oat cereals with yogurt) in the office in front of the computer screen while I work. Amanda said that I should at least try to take a few minutes to eat consciously and slowly.
We also did some Mindfulness exercises. One of my favourites was the one where we had to shut our eyes and open the mouth. Amanda gave us something on our tongue that we had to taste consciously by chewing it slowly until it almost disappeared in the mouth. It was the most delicious raisin I ever had, I swear, so sweet and yummy.
Create your daily Mindful moments
Amanda’s favourite time for her daily mindfulness exercise is in the morning and evening when she drives to work or back home. While driving the car she observes the beauty of the mountains, the glittering sea, the colourful sunrise or sunset. Obviously not everybody has such a beautiful scenery when going to work, but even if you sit in a train full of people you could try to do some mindfulness exercises, e.g., like the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. This involves letting your attention rest on 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you smell, 2 things you touch and 1 thing you taste.
You could also try the mindful breathing exercise, close your eyes and just breath. Mindful breathing simply involves focusing your thoughts on the breath coming in and leaving your body. You might focus on the sensation of the air as it enters and leaves your nostrils, or the rising and falling of your breath in your belly or chest. Whatever feels right for you. It’s not always easy to focus on the breath, as our minds love to flit between different thoughts. If you notice your mind wandering, gently bring it back to the breath.
Mindfulness; this is why you should try it!
There are lots of benefits when practicing mindfulness daily. It reduces stress, anxiety and depression symptoms, increases your sense of well-being, improves your cognitive ability and slows brain aging. It is even supposed to help with pain management. I think enough reasons to give it a try and practice daily!
So being mindful doesn’t mean to make a big effort every day and to sit still for 30 minutes (although that would be perfect), it means being in the here and now, not only physically but also mentally.
Written by your SISter in Wellness Julia
More info about La Crisalida Retreat in Spain, click here >>