In case you are unclear as to exactly Mindfulness is, Professor Mark Williams, former Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that “Mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. Its is a therapeutic technique that can help you manage and prevent feelings of depression, stress, anxiety, or discontent. It enables anyone who practices it to live a more attentive, appreciative and vibrant life. An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment.”
When the concept of Mindfulness was first introduced to me, I had a young baby. I still had to decide if I could steal time to brush my teeth or shower in the Mornings. Drinking cups of tea which were actually hot was a distant memory. Between the ridiculously broken night (being woken at least every 40 minutes was standard for months on end), and the endless feeding, there certainly didn’t seem like time to just ‘do nothing’. I could appreciate there was probably some merit in clearing my mind, and making time to Mediate. However, seeing as this didn’t come naturally to my runaway brain, and the fact that as a new Mum, my life felt fuller and more chaotic than every before-well it just wasn’t the quick fix I was after.
As time passed on, Mindfulness, Meditation and is efficacy kept finding it’s way into my path. With the slow realisation that life wasn’t going to ever “return to normal”, and that I needed to find peace and make time in this new role, I gave Mindfulness another shot.
I hear time and time again ” I don’t have time for that”, but I think one of the most powerful suggestions I have had, is to replace “I don’t have time” with “that’s not a priority for me, and see how that feels. I find it a really effective tool, as the results can be pretty confronting. ‘It is not a priority for me to find ten minutes a day improving my over all wellbeing”-it doesn’t sit well at all.
But where was this time going to magically manifest from? While my daughter sleeps somewhat better (that days of less than an hour at a time are thankfully in the past at least), life feels pretty full still. I am sure anyone reading this probably feels the same, be it work, Parenting, hobbies, commuting, housework. The answer? Incorporate it into every day, from Mindful Breastfeeding, to Mindful hair brushing.
Here is how you can find at least ten minutes to practice Mindfulness every single day
Brushing your teeth-the recommendation is two minutes twice a day, but even if you only spend half as long, you’re still 10% of the way there. Rather than trying to multitask and clean the sink simultaneously, instead visualise each tooth, appreciate the taste of the toothpaste and the sensation on your gums.
Walking down the stairs -concentrate on the action of each foot, the sound your steps make, move slowly. If you’re anything like me you are up and down the stairs countless times a day, but lets work with six trips which you stretch to twenty second-i’m sure we can all manage that!
Eating– of course we probably would all love to enjoy leisurely lunches spanning hours, where we can savour every flavour. Reality is wolfed down meals, on the move, and simultaneously fending off a small child from eating all your food! But dedicate one meal in the day to eating mindfully. Really chew the food, identify the flavours, look at what you are eating, smell it. It that seems to time consuming, bargain that the first five mouthfuls must be eaten mindfully, then build from there.
Making (& if you’re really lucky-drinking) a cup of tea– notice the cup, hold it in your hands, smell the tea bag, be conscious of the process, watch as the tea diffuses, and as the milk emulsifies. Savour each sip. If you are still at the reheating cold tea stage, you just need to work the same magic with the microwave.
Washing your hands– lets say four loo breaks a day, plus before preparing dinner at a very modest estimate? And if you are changing pooey nappies I imagine I can double this tally. Focus on the sound of the water, the sensation of the soap, really concentrate on the process of washing your hands. Not only will it claim a few minutes of calm, but it will improve hygiene-win win!
Ways to find ten Seconds of Mindfulness when life really does feel too full to take a breath
Getting into the car– if you don’t have Children then simply take the time from the from door to the car. If you are a Parent, from the moment you shut the door having buckled them into their seat, as you walk to the drivers side, date a deep breath in and then exhale, look at the sky for a moment, and then open the door.
Putting on your pajamas– sure getting ready in the morning may be a rush, with children hanging from every limb, but as you get ready to roll into bed, take a couple of seconds to be conscious of the feel of the clothes on your skin.
Download the Mindfulness Daily App– it can pop up with reminders throughout the day and guide you through, from as little as fifteen seconds of controlled breathing, to fifteen minute body scans.