Holistic Horizons

Mindfulness

Published on 7 February 2017 by Mari Duffy

If we are not fully oursleves, TRULY IN THE PRESENT MOMENT, we MISS everything (Thich Nhat Hanh)

There are numerous books out there on Mindfulness and I do not want to just repeat what they will all tell you. But I do want to give you a chance to consider MINDFULNESS in its simplest form. It is a powerful practice which can make a difference to anyone's life and improve wellbeing.

This is a chance to connect with your five senses - sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch - and connect with our true selves.

MINDFULNESS practice will help to calm and relax you, it will awaken your awareness, and return you to a childlike curiosity of all that is around you, from the beautiful skies, the singing birds, the taste of strawberries, fragrant flowers to the touch of velvet. This growing awareness revitalizes our gratitude and compassion for the things and people around us. These are the things that do not cost us anything but are all around us for free, all of the time, we just have to be aware of them and enjoy them.

As you carry out your MINDFULNESS practices remember to breathe deeply and focus on the incoming and outgoing breaths. If you are distracted, just breathe again and return to your focus.

Go outside to a park if this is possible, or into your garden, or just outside where there might be a tree, or a stone or a flower. Or if you are inside choose an object you love and focus on it fully. Look very closely at your leaf, stone or object, really study it. What colour is it? What does it feel like? Does it have a smell? What do you like about it? How would you describe it to a friend? Do this for about five minutes, all the time being conscious of your breathing in and out.

Take another five minutes to close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you, again you can be inside or outside. What can you hear? Let the sounds drift in and out of your mind. Remember it is about the here and now, so it is just what you can hear right now, don't think anymore about it.

Now take a specific walk into a park or an open space where you will find trees and flowers, focus on your walking, every step, then arouse your awareness of what is around you, perhaps take a camera with you so that when your exercise is complete you can capture an image of your focus, so that you can view it later either to paint, draw or to simply enjoy. Examine everything as if for the first time. Remember to also focus on your breathing throughout.

These are just a few simple examples of how you can bring MINDFULNESS into your life without spending hours preparing, try to do these exercises in your lunch break. Then see how you feel. Are you feeling more aware of the moment, more calm and relaxed?

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