What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness as defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, means ‘Paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.’
The practice is extremely popular because of the positive benefits including:
- Reduced stress
- Improved emotional well being
- Responding more effectively to difficult situations.
- Improved sleep
- Increased creativity
- Better balance and resilience at work and at home
Time to slow down
We live in a society geared towards speed and getting things done quickly. That’s why we have self-service checkouts, online banking, instant messaging and ever faster broadband speeds. No wonder multi-tasking is considered necessary and positive; especially for busy mums and dads. So you cook dinner while keeping one eye on the kids and another on the television. Or you’re on your phone while commuting to work and reading an email while talking to a friend. But in this rush to get everything done you may find you lose connection with the present moment. Missing out on the smells, sights and sounds of what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. For example, if you did the school run, did you notice the trees are starting to change colour?
Introducing everyday mindfulness
Mindful practitioners learn how to pay attention on purpose through mindful meditation practices and movements. However, you can begin to bring a more mindful approach into your daily life – starting with slowing down, and becoming fully aware of what you’re doing, who you’re with and why. Improving the quality and memory of the experience as you notice things you may otherwise have missed. This isn’t as hard as it may sound, but it does mean allowing yourself to slow down. The key is not to make it a chore or another ‘to do’, but to let it become part of something you’re already doing. For example – teaching your child to brush their teeth, walking to school or preparing your lunch etc.
With so much change in nature, autumn is a great time to start practicing increased awareness of your environment. Also, half term’s around the corner, so for mums and dads this may mean taking time off to be with the children. No doubt there’ll be bonfire parties etc. to attend. Ask yourself, will you hurtle through them, just keen to get them over and done with. If so perhaps this year you’d enjoy trying to be mindful instead, just to see what difference it makes.
Creating mindful moments with your children
Great so now you’re ready to give mindfulness a go. Before you begin remember:
- Quality is better than quantity
- That everyday brings new opportunities to be ‘in the moment’
- There is no right or wrong way to do it (be kind and non- judgmental to yourself)
- You don’t have to plan specific events, mindfulness is about learning to enjoy everyday activities
- Your children will grow up far quicker than you can imagine – take time to enjoy their company now
If you enjoyed this post you may also like ‘The day I stopped saying hurry up‘, the touching story of one mum who learned to start really appreciating life.
To help you integrate mindfulness into you’re daily life we’re giving away a free copy of Yvette Jane’s book ‘Mindfulness for Mums‘. For a chance to win click here. This giveaway closes on October 31st 2016.