Happy in life, happy in relationships, happy in work
We all find it difficult to be present, composed and to take a breath before we overreact to the challenges of our hectic lives.
Being mindful simply means paying attention in a particular way.
On purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally. (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
So what can Mindfulness do for you?
First of all, Mindfulness is for anyone from all walks of life, young & old.
It is not a religion. Anyone with any belief system can enjoy the benefits of Mindfulness.
Mindfulness can help you
- recognise, slow down or stop automatic/habitual reactions
- respond more effectively to complex or difficult situations
- see situations more clearly
- become more creative
- achieve balance and productivity at work and at home
Most of us are rarely present in the moment. We focus on past experiences and emotions, constantly thinking about the past and worrying about the future or the next big project/deadline at work.
Mindfulness is not simply an idea, it is an approach to life and living in the present moment, being more awake and involved in our lives rather than operating on ‘automatic pilot’.
Mindfulness allows us to step back from automatic behaviours and habitual patterns so you can see things more clearly.
It is a practice to enable us to live our lives to the fullest, in the only moment we get, which is this one.
It has been shown to have powerful influence on your wellbeing, happiness, health and workplace productivity.
So how can you start practicing Mindfulness?
SwitchSeven offers a range of mindfulness sessions and supporting exercises but we’ve captured our favourite short 6-minute example below so you can practice yourself and start to appreciate the benefits immediately.
Take a time out, give it a go, and see the difference it makes.
It won’t be easy at first, like every skill it takes practices to get good. But stick at it.
You might be wondering how you can survive 6 minutes without your iphone, without checking your e-mail or just being able to clear your head.
I know exactly how you feel. I felt the same way when I started.
But a few months ago, I tried a few short 10 minute meditation exercises and slowly began to create a calm centered approach to both start and end the day.
And what a difference it’s made!
All it takes is some practice and commitment to cultivate the process daily.
Try this short 6-Minute Meditation as an example of how to centre your body in the midst of a whirlwind of stress. Could be a busy day at the office or trying to cope with family/personal issues.
6 Minute Mountain Meditation
This mindfulness practice, often referred to as “the mountain meditation,” can help you centre your body and come back to your breath. By imagining and then embodying the steadiness of a mountain, we’re training in being present to the weather of the world, as well as to our own internal weather: our thoughts and sensations.
Settle into an upright, comfortable sitting posture.
Present and awake. Gentle and steady. Connected to the ground below. Body rising up into the air.
Imagine in your mind’s eye a beautiful mountain.
It could be a mountain you’ve climbed or viewed from a distance, or perhaps one you’ve seen in a film or picture. Or maybe one you’ve just conjured up in your mind. Either way, visualize a mountain that for your embodies majesty and magnificence, full of natural wonder.
Notice the awesome qualities of the mountain:
See in your mind how its foot is grounded firmly in the earth and how it rises up into the air unapologetically and fully taking its place in the landscape. Bring awareness to its solidity, its stillness, its strength, and its size. Come day or night, storm and sun, winter and summer, the mountain abides in the space, sitting still in its landscape, unwavering whatever the weather. It doesn’t have to do anything. It just is. A beautiful mountain. Amazing just by its very existence. And whether it’s sunny, snowing, blowing a gale, hot, warm, cool, or cold, the mountain just is there, sitting present.
Notice your own mountainous qualities as you sit here.
Just like the mountain is plugged into the earth, so your feet are connected to the ground. Your body rising upwards like the body of the mountain. Your head rests on your shoulders like the peak of the mountain and you can be here, fully present like the mountain sits in its space. Your body and being as miraculous as the mountain that evokes such wonder just by its presence. Like the mountain, being an embodiment of stillness, solidity, beauty, without having to do anything else.
There may be weather going on of course: events in life, thoughts, and sensations ebbing and flowing in the internal and external environment. Whatever the weather, just for now, practice being a “breathing body mountain.” Naturally wonderful, whether the weather seems pleasant or unpleasant. Let the climates of the world happen: being rained on, shined on, snowed on—stay present as best you can to whatever comes.
When the mind wanders, invite attention back to the sense of being a mountain
Or if you prefer, let your attention rest on the mountain in your mind for a while before returning to sensations in the body. Let go of the need to feel a particular way. If you don’t feel mountainous, that’s fine.
This practice invites you to cultivate a quality rather than fabricate a feeling: just being a “breathing body mountain.”
This post was adapted from Into The Heart of Mindfulness, by Ed Halliwell, published by Piatkus
Useful links to Mindful Meditation:
10 ways to be mindful at work –