Personal Growth

The 50 Ways to Leave Your 40s: #17 Mindfulness Meditation

My normal Saturday morning involves putting the Dyson through its paces as I hoover up the equivalent of a small puppy in dog hair. Which in itself sounds like I live in a pigsty – be assured I don’t, but Harley moults on a second by second basis and by Saturday the daily sweeping of the floor is over and it’s time for the big guns to come out. So, for near on 3 hours I hoover, wash floors, polish, clean surfaces blah blah bah – standard housework routine that we’re all familiar with. Needless to say by about lunchtime I’m totally over it and ready to embrace the remainder of the day doing something I actually enjoy…

However, a few Saturdays ago I threw caution to the wind, ignored the dog hair (well for a few hours) and booked myself onto a Mindfulness Workshop. Ahh, a little bit of peace, reflection, soothing music and me time – just what I needed.

Now I’m kind of au fait with ‘Mindfulness’ – or should I say I’m aware of it and try (key word) to practice it when the going gets tough. But if you’re new to it, or don’t know what it is at all, here’s a great explanation from Mind:

Mindfulness is a technique which can help people manage their mental health or simply gain more enjoyment from life. It involves making a special effort to give your full attention to what is happening in the present moment – to what’s happening in your body, your mind or your surroundings, for example – in a non-judgemental way. Mindfulness describes a way of approaching our thoughts and feelings so that we become more aware of them and react differently to them.

Essential Oil DiffuserWhen I arrived to the therapists treatment room I instantly felt relaxed – marvellous! The diffuser was wafting out a gorgeous essential oil, the music was twinkly and low and I literally felt my shoulders drop and my internal mind chatter start to pipe down. (The internal mind chatter that was chanting ‘housework, housework, housework’ at me!) Jane, the super friendly and knowledgeable therapist, passed around some fabulous products infused with essential oils and wonderful smells. As I applied face creams, serums and eye creams, I took the time to appreciate my surroundings, focus on me, my face, my hands, my senses and really lose myself in the moment. And for a moment, or two, even the internal chatter was totally quiet…

Now don’t get me wrong, Mindfulness isn’t always about essential oils and plinky plinky music. No more than yoga enthusiasts don’t sit crossed legged and ‘hummmm’ all day, whilst eating quinoa and raving about the latest vegan recipe they’ve found. But it’s their moment; their mind space; their time to be fully present. Just like mine was escaping the cleaning, using some natural products and (for once) being on the receiving end of a nice little pamper. My phone was on silent, my dog was safely at home alone, Facebook wasn’t making me watch videos of cats on skateboards and I. Was. Present.

I’m sure we don’t really need a good reason to think abut ourselves occasionally, but if you’re still not convinced, here are a few great reasons why you should try it.

Mindfulness can help you to:

  • increase your awareness of your thoughts and feelings
  • manage unhelpful thoughts
  • develop more helpful responses to difficult feelings and events
  • be kinder towards yourself
  • feel calmer and able to manage stress better
  • manage some physical health problem, like chronic pain

Mindfulness MeditationWe all lead busy lives on different levels, but I would urge you all to try and practice Mindfulness, even if you just try it for ten minutes this week sometime. Just find 10 minutes for you; for your well being; for your sanity and I absolutely promise there’s no chanting required!

(I loved the Chakra Bunting that was across the wall of the therapy room and thought this one was very apt for the morning and how I felt!)

To read more of 50 Ways to Leave Your 40s, click here.

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