Time Is A Gift - Be Mindful
Updated: Jan 4
Why explore mindfulness? To train ourselves to be equanimous (ie. calm and composed, unattached, evenness of mind, emotionally stable).
Mindfulness and Stress Reduction during Quarantine: As we all know these days can be stressful…whether anxious about income, keeping your job, home-schooling your little angels or even just the next meal, things can seem overwhelming, and even suffocating. Just getting the dishes done can be the ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’ and a temper can be lost….But this article is focused on the importance of keeping your mind busy in the PRESENT!
It is also important we reward ourselves when we feel we have been successful and efficient!
Here are some suggestions:
-Eat a snack
-Watch a movie (recommend ‘Muscle Shoals’ documentary on Youtube for music lovers)
-Listen to music
-Make music ie. whistle or let your children make music (sweet sound of pots and pans)
-Remote control cars
-Go outside for a walk
-Jump on a trampoline
-Lay in the grass or have a picnic
-Go for a hike (but not where everyone else is going for a hike ;)
-Read a book
-Plan to build something
-Learn a skill
-Write down 1 personal health goal - start towards it
-Train a horse or your dog a new skill (roll over, sit, stay, fetch, ok maybe different for horse)
-The Occupational Therapist in me says ADLs and I(Instrumental) ADLs. Brushing your teeth, bathing, eating, etc are the most basic Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and things like laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, organizing are all Instrumental ADLs. In meaning, they add value to life and aid in success. 24 hours spent on these each week is average Source.
More important than the actual activity is the location of your mind. Are you there, present, in the moment? Are you watching or observing for adjustments? Are you aware of your own perceptions, or how this activity affects your emotions? Does it make you smile without first noticing? Can you notice the very superficial sensations of your skin, are you getting goosebumps or can you feel the air on the skin of your arms or legs? Can you feel the textures of these associated activities, such as your dog’s coat, the grass ‘poking’ your skin, the wind, the dirt??
When we focus on feeling, observing, focusing and then letting them (the superficial feelings) pass away, we are practicing mindfulness. Isolation is best for this practice. Silence is best for this practice, and motivation. The most important place to start with this practice is breathing...
Here is your 5 minute breathing meditation:
Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You could be seated on a chair or on the floor on a cushion. Keep your back upright, but not too tight. Hands resting wherever they’re comfortable. Tongue on the roof of your mouth or wherever it’s comfortable.
Notice and relax your body. Try to notice the shape of your body, its weight. Let yourself relax and become curious about your body seated here—the sensations it experiences, the touch, the connection with the floor or the chair. Relax any areas of tightness or tension. Just breathe.
Tune into your breath. Feel the natural flow of breath—in, out. You don’t need to do anything to your breath. Not long, not short, just natural. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. It might be in your abdomen. It may be in your chest or throat or in your nostrils. See if you can feel the sensations of breath, one breath at a time. When one breath ends, the next breath begins.
Be kind to your wandering mind. Now as you do this, you might notice that your mind may start to wander. You may start thinking about other things. If this happens, it is not a problem. It’s very natural. Just notice that your mind has wandered. You can say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. And then gently redirect your attention right back to the breathing.
Stay here for five to seven minutes. Notice your breath, in silence. From time to time, you’ll get lost in thought, then return to your breath.
Check in before you check out. After a few minutes, once again notice your body, your whole body, seated here. Let yourself relax even more deeply and then offer yourself some appreciation for doing this practice today.
Finally one last link to SN Goenka’s video: 'The habit pattern of the mind'. He was a teacher of Vipassana meditation. Here you’ll see that you should be easy on yourself, forgive, and move forward, try again to focus on your breath, and every time you do, it will become easier.
Time is a never-ending opportunity to find what we are looking for. To some, it's truth, and to some, an ice-cream sandwich. I hope this gift of time allows you to at least look and explore, whether inside yourself, in nature, or on eBay.