Being mindful is like the new black. Being in the moment. Mindfulness.
Everyone talks about it and we all apparently *should* aspire to have moments of it in our days. It’s been shown to improve our well-being and improve our productivity, efficiency and overall happiness. For all people that sounds pretty good, but as busy mothers, it sounds amazing, right!?
Interestingly, as parents, many of us find we have practiced mindfulness without necessarily realising that we were. Simply being with our children, and present with them and receptive to their needs is a form of mindfulness.
Mindfulness as escape
Mindfulness also helps take ourselves out of our head. Now I realise this is possibly a contentious argument. Being mindful can be experienced as being still – simply in the moment with our thoughts.
However, sometimes what we require is to get out of our thoughts; out of our heads. A prime example is whenever we are experiencing heightened emotions; whether this be grief or any other emotion.
Mindfulness after loss
After the loss of my baby, I took specific actions to help me cope with the overwhelming sense of grief and pain. To cope, I practiced mindfulness. It was not a term I knew at that time, and I didn’t know I was being mindful.
I simply was; I was in the moment and appreciating that little moment of joy.
It was very soothing to push my then toddler on his swing for hours, despite occasionally feeling a little frustrated that all I was doing all day was pushing a swing. I stood there, watching the sky and the bright green leaves of the tree in sharp relief against the crisp blue, with an occasional white cloud and just was present. I was completely in the moment.
Being mindful can bring joy
I felt a deep joy in those moments. A sense of peace and calm. I quietly acknowledged that to myself, in those few moments of tranquil swing pushing.
There is no need to meditate, or undertake a challenging or extensive mindfulness program. Noticing the little things in your day can be the first step to finding a sense of peace, calm and developing a new habit of being mindful. Pausing for a few seconds to observe where you are and what is happening around you can be an easy way to start a practice of being mindful.
Taking a moment out of your day to simply pause, and appreciate what you have whether it be the smell of a flower, the vibrant blue sky, a stunningly beautiful vista, the warmth of a cup of tea, your child’s radiant smile; all these things can bring a little bit of mindfulness to your day and life, and reconnect you with the feeling of joy.
The best way to capture moments is to pay attention.
This is how we cultivate mindfulness.
Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.
– Jon Kabat-Zinn –
Start with your breath
Mindfulness can alleviate some of the intensity of strong emotion. A simple way is to just focus on your breath for three breaths. If three breaths feels too much, sometimes one deep breath can be sufficient.
This method of mindfulness suits a busy mum. As we juggle work, children and household demands, finding time for mindfulness can be challenging. Taking a single breath, and focusing on that can be a quick way to centre ourselves, feel grounded and back in balance.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or experiencing too much emotion, I would recommend focussing on a single breath. Breathe in deeply, hold it for three seconds, and then exhale. It worked for me and helped me find moments of joy amongst the days of sorrow as well as the days of busy-ness.
Try it out. It really only takes a few seconds, but the results are worthwhile.
I’ll wait whilst you try it now.
Inhale. Count for three. Exhale.
See? Easy. Quick. Simple. And you feel a bit calmer. Well done, you’ve just started a practice of mindfulness.
It’s okay to be mindful.
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