Why is my mind soooooooooo busy?
That is a frustration I have often felt and I know I am not alone in it. Sleepless nights I have tossed and turned while my mind is moving a million miles a minute…OR half listening to a child or friend who is trying to have a conversation with you… In a day and age where we have everything at our fingertips and are constantly inundated with media trying to grab our attention, our capacity just to be still is almost non-existent, and we struggle to know what it means to sit quietly without being on phones, laptops or entertained. This month as we focus on the theme of Nurture, we want to look at what that means when it comes to mindfulness. This looks different for every individual.
Heading into 2018 has been a whirlwind for me… we finished last year with a crowdfunding campaign and have had calendars packed full with no time for calm and stillness… It creates a whirlwind in my head that I find it hard to stop and take a breath… There are been many highs and lows in the recent weeks and months and with all that to take in, a new year has pounced upon me so quickly. I have been thinking about 2018 and what it holds for me, in particular focusing on mindfulness and what that means to me. It is something I have rarely included in my daily routine, but something that I see immense value in doing regularly. This year I really want to focus daily on 1. Taking time each day to appreciate one small thing… whether that be a robin flying past and whistling, the sun beaming through a window or the happy talk of my daughter at dinner time. 2. Having 10 minutes of quiet, for me, this is a way to positively focus on the day ahead and read a small devotion. 3. And most importantly, to approach life in its busyness with peace and contentment. This doesn’t mean I need to be happy all the time but to resolve at working at inner peace and contentment. A book that I have just started to read is called “Mind Calm” written by Sandy C. Newbigging. It was recommended to me to read, so I am aiming to read it over January to help let go of the constant chatter in my mind, to gain clarity, perform my best, worry less, and thereby sleep better.
Personally, I find I spend too much time thinking about the past and worrying about what might happen in the future. Although it’s great to reflect on good times and our memories of people and places it is not so good if we start to regret decisions, wish we had made different choices and worry about the future. To bring me back to the now I like to pause and observe what is going on around me at that moment. I take a deep breath and make a mental note of the colour of the sky, the leaves on the trees, how beautiful the flowers are or autumn colours? Whether I am driving in my car, walking somewhere or at home, I just sit and observe for a short while and appreciate the beauty around me. I find this relaxes me and brings me back to the present time. I also like to just sit in silence when I get the opportunity, close my eyes and just focus on my breathing. I wouldn’t call it meditation as such, just a way of being mindful of my emotions and feelings at that time. It’s a great way to relax and just be….even for a very short while.
Whilst I think that mindfulness is important for your wellbeing, I have never been one for meditation. I have tried apps to help, tried deep breathing first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and when pregnant I did various guided meditations to try and help me relax. However I have never been able to stop my racing thoughts, or just thinking about things to get done, or things that have happened in the day. For me, mindfulness and meditations is about finding a way to help calm your mind, and these things never seemed to do that – they just gave me space in my mind to think about more things. Instead, I have found that the way I seem to be able to properly relax and take time out of the day is to get out and walk, if possible with a podcast or some music. And whilst I know that this isn’t quite the same as ‘proper’ meditation, it is the only time I feel my thoughts quieten and I can just enjoy the moment and relax.
To me, mindfulness means emptying my mind of stress. That stress doesn’t always have to be negative sources but for me, the constant need to stimulate my mind with both useful and useless information can lead to me feeling like I want to explode! Sometimes I just need a bit of peace so that I can slow down and free my mind of doing overtime constantly. I do this a few ways. I either meditate for 15 mins a day using breathing techniques, take the dog out for a walk without technology (yes, leave your phone at home or in the car!), or I like to practice the art of being still which usually leads to me falling into a daydream!! Whichever technique I use I find that they all help me slow down and decrease the stress and increase my mindfulness. Try it out for yourselves.As you can see we have different views and ways of increasing our mindfulness. The common goal for us is to reduce stress in everyday life and find that relaxed state of mind where nothing else matters and we can let go. If you have never thought about mindfulness before, our recommendation to you would be to first recognize where you need to slow down in your life and what activity you can do to put yourself in a more mindful state.