The sun is shining again (maybe not for long) and I have started my Mindfulness journey. It’s a great time for new beginnings with spring in the air. Some of you may not know what Mindfulness is or what it entails but I thought I’d share my experience. I’ve started a group course session that is designed for people with chronic illness. It’s once a week for 8 weeks and I am currently a few sessions in. I’ll go over what I have learned so far and my hopes for the future. So keep reading if you would like to read more about Mindfulness and the start of my personal journey.
Getting started: What is Mindfulness?
You may be wondering what it means to be mindful and what it is to practice this. Before getting started I also had no real idea how this would integrate into my daily life and what the benefits would be. You may have seen my post on CBT well this is a similar course setting. I turn up once a week in a very intimate course of 5 people to learn Mindful techniques. That way I can go away and practice myself, as we get set homework.
“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” – Mindful.org
There are many definitions but the above quote is one that summarises it in a way I see it personally. Being overwhelmed is a sensation I feel regularly with having anxiety. Mindfulness is a practice of different techniques and a lifestyle where you are more able to accept the moment, have less judgment and can see more clearly. We often get clouded judgment because modern lifestyles are so fast-paced and pressurising we forget to take time to be slow, let our minds catch up with our bodies and simply accept just being still.
I have so far only learned a few different techniques but they make practicing daily easier. We have gone over something called ‘body mapping’ where you meditate whilst focusing on single areas of your body. By doing that you train your mind to concentrate and focus without judgment. It helps clear any overwhelming thoughts and re-center you. The practice can take anywhere between 10 to 45 minutes. I find making time for it difficult but when I do I definitely see the benefits for relaxing me.
The other technique I have enjoyed is being more away of the things around me and breaking the cycle of living in autopilot. I have tried noting down 3 things a day I notice, whether that be sounds when I’m on my way to work, someone smiling or the feeling of fabrics. The more you do this the easier it gets to concentrate on even small things.
Every week we get to take home homework as well as course notes on what we have learned so there’s lots more I could talk about. Let me know if you would like a video about all the techniques?
My journey so far
So far I am really enjoying the practice of Mindfulness. Making time for it is something I struggle with the most especially with body mapping and other longers techniques. Fitting in smaller practice like noticing, breaking autopilot and simple breathing techniques I find it easier.
Over the next few weeks, I would really like to develop this further and use Mindfulness daily. It is something I think can be really beneficial for my mind and body, to enable me to relax on a deeper level than I have been able to for a long time. I’ll definitely share more about the process in the future but for now, I hope you enjoyed hearing an introduction to it. Let me know if you also practice mindfulness and what you love most about it?