Saturday 18th November 2017

Mindfulness. #LifeThisWeek 33/52. 2017.101.

Mindfulness. #LifeThisWeek 33/52. 2017.101.

This prompt, along with my daily meditation via Headspace, was developed for ME to become even more mindful than I am.

I thought that it might help me become more focussed as I know I need to be more present-based in my thoughts rather than past oriented or future centred. 

Having the knowledge of what mindfulness is I need to be more practised in it.

Here’s a few knowledgable people’s quotes about what mindfulness is:

  • “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose,
 in the present moment, and 
non-judgmentally.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
  • “Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis.” (Marlatt & Kristeller)
  • “Awareness of present experience with acceptance.” (Germer, Segal, Fulton)
  • “Mindfulness is a state of being in the present moment openly, flexibility and with curiosity” – (B.J. Whelan)

So, why be mindful?

The present moment, as it is said by Erkhardt Tolle, is actually the NOW and it is the only time we experience. The past has happened and the future is yet to happen.

So, what am I doing to be more mindful?

  • When I am driving I ensure I pay attention to the road…and the conditions of course, but I also sense the wheel in my hands, listen to the music I am playing and sense the fresh air coming through the vents
  • When I am making something creative, I have my materials to keep me centred as I decided what colours, media and designs to make
  • When I am sitting without distraction, in my chair, or looking at a view, I take it all in through the five senses if that is possible
  • I recognise that if I become too past oriented or future centred, I do not notice or take in the present moment and I may indeed miss something of value such as a bird singing outside or the sun moving behind the clouds
  • It also helps me when I am anxious or worried to take some strategies I have learned about being present: see 5 things and name them to myself, hear 4 things and name them, touch 3 things and name them, smell 2 things and name them and finally, if appropriate taste one thing and name it. Once  I have mindfully done this I will often find the anxiety/worry has moved on!

I found this here and it is a great list for the ‘why’ of being mindful.

The Benefits of Mindfulness
Practising mindfulness helps you:
* to be fully present, here and now
* to experience unpleasant thoughts and feelings safely
* to become aware of what you’re avoiding
* to become more connected to yourself, to others and to the world around you
* to become less judgmental
* to increase self-awareness
* to become less disturbed by and less reactive to unpleasant experiences
* to learn the distinction between you and your thoughts
* to have more direct contact with the world, rather than living through your thoughts
* to learn that everything changes; that thoughts and feelings come and go like the weather
* to have more balance, less emotional volatility
* to experience more calm and peacefulness
* to develop self-acceptance and self-compassion

How are you at being mindful?

Do you sometimes find yourself wondering what just happened as you have not been paying attention to whatever you have been doing?

Can you suggest some strategies you use for being more mindful?

Denyse.

Linking with friends Alicia here and Kell here who also blog on Mondays!

Thank you for joining in the link-up this week.


 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Your art is a great way to be mindful xo

    • It certainly is. I often find a little bit done is the way to take my unhelpful thoughts away and replace them with concentrating on the colours I am using and how the paint brush is moving across the page.

  2. Good post. I also picked up on the focus on nature in mine.

  3. Denyse
    I really like the process of seeing 5 things and naming them to myself. Great way to bring the mind to the now.

    SSG xxx

    • I am glad that you see that as helpful. I also sometimes look around for one colour and name those (to myself of course!). When I am waiting at the doctors etc I will sometimes see a sign and try to make words from the letters. From my understanding this is what the mind needs, to be busy, and it doesnt care whether it is something helpful or not. Hence by not engaging too much with anxious thoughts they pop off …after 90 seconds would you believe!!

  4. Being mindful is a great idea- I definitely need to concentrate on the present moment and not stress about the future so much!

    Di from Max The Unicorn

    • I reckon painting nails is one way to be mindful and you probably don’t even think about that. I know I have to be mindful then or I will smudge what I have just done thanks to my impatience!!

  5. Mindfulness and meditation and so on are things I can logically see the benefit of, but I don’t want to do 🙂 For me, I like to feel like I’m taking action. Recently for me that has been having my work bag packed and clothes out the night before work. It makes my mornings totally stress free, which sets me up for the day. It has also been ensuring I drink water first thing. These three “little” things have really helped set me up for a good day each day recently. I suppose that they’re all practical and make for less rush is indicative of where I am in “finding a healthier me” (sounds like a book title haha).

    • That is so good to read. I too found preparation the night before was the biggest help getting off to work. As for drinking water, I need to do this more too. Really like how you are approaching this Vanessa and cant wait for the ‘book’…or maybe a series of blog posts… Mmmm

  6. I’ve not written anything new but have a heap of posts that came up when I searched for mindfulness. I know it’s something I wrote a little about once I started yoga again and struggled with meditation (worrying I was ‘doing it wrong’).

    And then there was the post I’ve linked up. Not really specifically about mindfulness but it’s something with which I guess I’m still struggling so made sense to have a read-through and share here.

    xx

    • I had to read your post and then comment before coming back here. I have said before that some of us are so determined to do everything right that when we feel we may not have we give it away. When I first started the mindful meditation with Headspace I used to wonder how on earth this could be working as thoughts are still in my head. Turns out that is NORMAL because we cannot stop thoughts but we can not engage with them. Just let them pass on by as there will be more. Did you know that anxious thoughts will dissipate after 90 seconds as long as we don’t engage with them? That helps me so much. Also as long as the mind has ‘something to do’ -like counting things you see that are of a particular colour, it lets anxiety go. I find it all fascinating and the more I learn the more I realise how normal we all are. You cannot do mindful meditation wrong. True!!

  7. I love that you’re able to incorporate photography and art into your mindfulness practices. Remaining in the moment is such a difficult thing to do sometimes. Especially when your current actions might affect your future.
    I also quite like the idea of using driving as a mindfulness exercise. It’s such a good feeling to have a breeze coming through the window and an awesome song on the radio!

    • So true. I guess why I have to be much more mindful and ‘in the moment’ is that I no longer want to spend too much time on the past ..regrets,what ifs etc..because I can do nothing about it now. I also need to keep the future a little more less-focussed as I can only ‘plan’ for what I have control over. This getting cancer thing has been one heck of a teacher!!

  8. I’m terrible at this. Just dreadful. I love your suggestions re anxiety – & will be trying it. I must say, I’m trying to just sit & look at the ocean each morning – without looking at my phone…even if it is just for a couple of minutes at a time.

    • Same about the phone at the beach! I have taken quite a while to ‘get the mindfulness’ at the beach and resist capturing every.single.wave. What I have learned in 2 to 3 years of this is that I am also making memories for my body when I splash or walk in the water – feeling, smelling and hearing. I hear everything you are saying but tiny steps at a time and you will be ‘in the moment’ more than you ever knew!!

  9. I try to be mindful but most times I am just struggling to stay afloat. Love the quotes too. Hope your health is coming along nicely. X

    • I think you are not alone…and I do not think many people can be mindful ALL of the time so some of the time and knowing it helps is great. Thank you Jody, I am coming along really well.

  10. Michelle (inthegoodbooksblog) says:

    I enjoy seeing your beautiful artwork on Instagram Denyse. I love colouring in, but haven’t had much time to do any of it lately. I am aiming to be more mindful, particularly since being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

    • oh dear Michelle that sounds like you have a challenge on your hands there. I have had some issues with anxiety (its my tendency anyway) and have been encouraged by my GP and psychologist to put into practice some strategies which do help but they do not ‘make the anxiety’ disappear instead the give me experiences where I have managed things. It certainly was a learning curve in anxiety being diagnosed with cancer and in the worst of times I was able to take a half valium. I hope you have good people caring for you too and that your family understands. Wishing you well.

  11. As I am getting older i am trying to be more mindful… but to be honest it’s so hard!!

    • I know what you mean. However I have a mindfulness-oriented husband who often reminds me to ‘come back from whatever future scenario I am in’ and be grounded in the present. Sigh.

  12. I’ve struggled with mindfulness. Reading The Happiness Trap and using some of the techniques has helped me get me my head around it somewhat. I still struggle in moments of high anxiety. I find I cannot even remember that grounding technique you described. So yes, I still have some work to do in becoming truly mindful! I am glad you find it so useful and thanks for writing this because it’s clarified what mindfulness is and the benefits.

    • I so get what you mean and I did not truly understand mindfulness for quite some time. I often do not remember to be mindful or to use some of the ‘tricks’ so our minds leave anxiety alone and concentrate instead on something like how many red things I see. I do find the more I have to use in my ‘toolkit’ the more likely something will help when I am anxious and can’t quite ground myself. I recall a drive to the drs (we used to go to one 45 mins away and I was more highly anxious about the outcome than normal even though she is lovely) where I could have turned around and come home (safe place!) at least 3 times but I was going to benefit more to keep going. So, I used (and have on other occasions) looking for plants or signs or something that was red. I was still in control of my driving but the anxiety slipped down as my mind began another task. You may already know that our mind will lose an anxious thought in around 90 seconds if we do not engage with it, or try to push it away. It is a fascinating thing this being human!

  13. I first came across mindfulness, when studying for my social work degree almost 10yrs ago. Back then it was not a term that was not used very often and certainly was not something that was part of many’s day to day lives. In the last few years I have been using the Smiling Minds Mindfulness app, which is a wonderful tool that talks you through the process and has tools for adults and children. Mindfulness is also part of my yoga practice & also something that I make a point of focusing on when out walking.

    • Thanks for sharing Jenni. Mindfulness is a ‘buzz’ word for sure and I think it has not always been received well. I find it has helped me..when I remember it…get through a lot of the recent years’ challenges. Jon Kabat-Zinn first taught mindfulness and meditation to reduce stress in the late 1970s and is still spruiking its value wherever he can. I own several of his books and CDs.

  14. Hi Denyse, I recently got a special occasional chair and ottoman for my birthday and I am SO loving it! It’s a great colour and super comfy and placed in the warmest sunniest spot in the house. Each morning I try and sit here to have my breakfast and take some time to enjoy a quiet moment, take stock and just ‘be’ for a few moments. It’s so wonderful and I feel happier for doing it each day. Funny how much a piece of furniture can help with ones well being! lol …. I am trying hard to be more present with my kids too and value the special moments I have with them while they are young.

  15. I really like that mindfulness exercise of five, four, three, two, one things for each of the senses Denyse. It sounds like a great way to re-focus on the moment. I must confess to having too many moments where I’m overthinking things and this would probably be a good way to re-focus myself.

    • I am glad that something I wrote resonated. I think (see, that thinking thing again) that the more I am ‘out off my mind’ by say, walking, at the beach, doing my art I am far less likely to be over-thinking and then causing myself more trouble with worry about stuff I have no control over.

  16. My darling grandson taught me how to be more mindful Denyse. I’m looked after him every Wednesday since he was about a year old and he makes me stop and enjoy the moment. We spend time in the garden just looking at the wonder of spider webs or what ants are doing running here and there. It is such a special time in my life and being in the moment brings such peace to me. Have a lovely week and take care. xx

    • Yes that is so very true about doing things and noticing things at young children’s level of interest. I have a photo taken by me waaaay back when our nearly 10 yr old grandson was a toddler and at our house for the day. He is on his haunches and watching a snail move. That is the essence of ‘being in the moment’. I love seeing it!

  17. I’m for being less disturbed and reactive to unpleasant experiences. It’shard work. Good to see you back blogging.

    • Yes me too. However, I can sense in me what is coming up via fear/anxiety and learning (when I remember) to let is stay as it does usually disappear within that 90 second time frame. However, there are times I ‘bite’ and then the not-so good thoughts and emotions win for a while. It is a constant practice of remembering but I am better than I was. Thanks so much about the blogging. I really only missed just over a week. I was so glad to get back!! Hope you are doing well.

  18. Oh gosh, being mindful is a challenge. Something that i am always trying to be, I am gettting better at it 🙂

    • It is but I reckon, as I found out, that the minute you put the camera viewfinder near you or look through you are completely ‘in the moment’ and it was my realisation of this for me about 2 years ago that showed me I could be mindful. You will get there..I know this!!

Denyse values & reads every comment written, thank you. There is always a reply.

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