When I first heard the word ‘mindfulness’ it didn’t really hold any meaning for me. Then it started becoming one of those thrown around buzzwords and I started to take notice.
The definition of mindfulness:
- the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
- a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
At first, this seemed simple to me. Too simple to even think about, right? Wrong.
That second definition really resonated with me. I’ve started to realise recently that in our wrapped up world of millennials and generation y’s, we’re too busy to care about ourselves. God forbid we actually took a second to check on our own happiness, never mind someone else’s.
We’re a collection of people who have grown up too busy to care – told to be proactive but not too busy, talented but not overly so, yourself but not too wild. And when this all gets too confusing and gets on top of you, you’re not allowed to be anxious or down. We’re told it’s okay not to be okay… but really… be okay otherwise you’re weak.
Hang out with yourself.
Now I’ve probably made that sound more dramatic than it is, but let’s face it, we’re under a heck ton of pressure. Once we’ve studied our heads off or steamed through a day of work, kept fit, read up on the latest, maintained a willing social life and tapped into our relationships; we really don’t have the time left to hang out with ourselves.
That’s a weird phrase, but one I’m desperately scrambling to live by. Any good counsellor will tell you that looking after yourself is of upmost importance, but what they don’t say is that they mean you need to spend time by yourself. Of course, if spending time with other people makes you feel happy, go for it. But, don’t use that as an excuse not to try this.
What have you got to lose?
When I first got told to stop being so busy and spend even an hour with myself… I was scared. Laughable, I know. I asked my counsellor: “How do I do that?”, and she told me to pencil in time once every few days to be mindful about how I am. Literally to ask myself “Hey Becks, how’s it going?” and have a dialogue with my feelings.
Once I’d taken that first step, I needed to accept what I was feeling and then do something that helped my mind and body to relax. Now, this could be walking, meditation or simply laying in a dark room listening to music. Whatever floats your boat. I’ve personally found it needs to be something that doesn’t require a boat load of brain power. For example, reading is relaxing for me but I don’t count that as mindfulness and leave it for later.
Once a week may be too much for some people but think about it this way: Taking 10 minutes out of your day to step away from everything and ask yourself how you’re feeling in the moment is the same as asking your colleague how their evening was, or your friend about their day. Almost think of it as building a friendship with yourself.
I’m aware this is a blab of a post but I needed a mind dump! So, what are your thoughts or experiences with mindfulness? Let’s chat in the comments.