Mindfulness – The Art of Slowing Down…….
Mindfulness. What does it mean? Is it a mind full of thoughts, emotions and projections? Quite the contrary – it is becoming aware of the gaps in between our thoughts, where we can experience stillness, deep peace and rejuvenation. We spend so much time rushing from one thing to another and very little time simply being.
In times of high stress, our thoughts become faster and quicker and our nervous system and breathing kicks in to high gear.
Our breathing becomes short and erratic, the heart rate elevates and the blood is pumped through the body to respond to the demand. This stirs and winds up the ‘fight or flight response’. This creates a sense of tension, stress, anxiety and eventually, illness.
The craziness of it all is that the more we do, the more we gloss over things and in the end, we don’t only hurt ourselves but also our friends and family and ultimately we pay the price of losing our sense of self.
So by gently taking a momentary pause from the chaos of life we can start to restore balance and slow down.
Mindfulness meditation teaches us to slow down, to become self-aware, to alleviate the tension, to navigate the path and to discover the journey to our inner sanctuary.
There are many wonderful mindfulness exercises, including the “five minute sit.” This is a great exercise to do with the children to create a sense of stillness and mindfulness. As a family when we do this exercise together, we set a timer for five minutes and talk about the noises we hear (birds twittering, people talking, car noises).
It is also a good one to try when waiting in the car park at school, or even waiting at the doctors.
- Find a comfortable place to sit with a straight back and a relaxed body.
- Gently close your eyes (or gaze at a fixed point) and become aware of each breath you take in, especially of your chest rising and falling.
- Deepen your breath and gently soften into your chair.
- With each breath, gently expand your awareness and allow yourself to be open to the moment and your surroundings.
- Allow yourself to concentrate on whatever comes into this moment – the sounds, the smells, the feelings, the temperature, the breeze, the sunshine, the colours, the textures and anything else around you.
- After five to ten minutes, gently bring yourself back to the present moment and open your eyes. Ask yourself – how do I feel? Do I feel a change? Am I a little calmer?
NOTE: Please be fully awake before driving if you are meditating in a car.
Learn more about the art of mindfulness through Tosca’s Serenity https://www.facebook.com/toscasserentity/