Are you paying attention?
Last week we introduced the concept of awareness and focus to help you be fully present and cut through the daily noise. Hopefully you had a chance to try the techniques and exercises at work or at home. Have you seen a difference or do feel like a bit of an idiot?
As you progress through mindfulness there will be occasions when you feel like you have failed. Your mind will refuse to settle. It will go off on many a flight of fantasy. You may feel very drowsy and fall asleep. These are not moments of failure. They are very important. Like anything new, it can be frustrating. Try to persist with commitment and kindness. When you notice your mind drifting off, it’s a moment of learning. Stick with the practice and, to quote Nike, just do it.
How to stay in the moment when your mind is racing?
To progress and feel like you are ‘getting it’ you just have to stick with it, do the practice and gradually learn. Like any new skill, mindfulness can seem a little daunting to try and it may be difficult to keep your attention fixed in the present moment. New research has shown that short intervals, 5-10 minutes a day can have profound changes in the brain. Look at it as a 5 or 10 minute ab workout but for your brain. Remember if you stop practicing you lose your mindfulness abs (Maria Konnikova).
So take a mindful moment to give your brain a break instead of checking your phone, email, Facebook, Instagram, having a coffee break or dashing off for lunch. Your brain is your most valuable and precious resource so allocate it some time. 5 or 10 minutes or it can be as little as 1 minute
Learning with mindfulness comes through our own experience within the practices and through the way we integrate this way of being into our daily life.
Making the routine mindful
Choose one of the following routine, daily activities (or any of your own choice).
Each day for the next week try to pay attention while you are doing the activity. Simply do what you normally do, but see if you can be fully in the moment as you do it. Focus on the task with all your attention. Be aware of the little things.
- getting up in the morning – that first few minutes
- having your breakfast
- taking a shower
- brushing your teeth
- walking your dog
- walking to work
“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” ~ Sharon Salzberg