Mindfulness: an article by Martine

Mindfulness is a new way of being, a new way of experiencing life, and improving one’s work-life balance.

Before I start explaining what mindfulness is, I have to say that this skill may not heal all ills but it can make a great difference when it comes to perspective. Mindfulness may not heal your pain but it can teach you to live with it, and direct your focus to something better. It can prevent you from becoming unhappy by helping you to realize the many qualities of life. Mindfulness can also lead to increased confidence, calmness, enthusiasm for living and less anxiety.

Your thoughts can change your reality. If you can learn to appreciate the little moments in life, like the taste of a delicious strawberry, it can improve your life quality. Mindfulness is about changing your mind-set and the way you see the world. It’s all about being aware, and bringing attention to this moment of time, teaching you to notice every beautiful detail that is surrounding you.

Increasing gratitude
By raising awareness you can increase gratitude and compassion. This first happens when you realize the true gift of life. Focus on positive thoughts and let go of the negativity, fear and anxiety. Remember that gratitude and self compassion will bring you peace.

  1. Write it down: writing down things that you are grateful for can lead to less stress and a more optimistic outlook on life. Find a peaceful spot and write down what you are grateful for in your life (such as friendship and good memories).
  2. Sitting practice: sit down and allow your thoughts, good or bad, to drift by. Join hands and focus on your breathing. When you feel settled allow yourself to smile, to arise your face. Sit for a while and simply be.

Being in the now
Mindfulness is built on the skill of being in the now. That way mindfulness can work as a form of therapy. Instead of over thinking and over analyzing things while going for a walk, you will start nothing things like trees and flowers growing out of small cracks. By reconnecting with the simplest of moments in life, it is possible to to discover a sense of calmness and enjoyment. By simply looking around you, you can become more found of life. Practices you can do to stay present:

  1. Connecting to sound by not labelling it but just focussing on letting it drift by. Don’t let your mind get busy, simply close your eyes and listen.
  2. Standing starfish pose: Let yourself feel centred by this pose. Close your eyes and let your mind concentrate on your breath.
  3. Awaken your breath: Stand in mountain pose with feet apart and your arms by your side. Inhale and lift your arms over your head and move your arms down as you exhale. Repeat 6 times.

Acceptance
Acceptance is an important step to a peaceful mind. To accept your inner feelings there are several exercises you can do. By making these exercises a part of your daily routine you can increase your experience of relaxation.

  1. Confront your anger and let go: focus on your breath until you feel ready. Experiment with mentally moving towards your anger. Try to understand your anger by asking questions like: Why do I feel this way? Do not react, just sit still and focus on your breath. Do not finish until you feel the right moment has arrived.
  2. To let go of tension you can do the cat stretch: get on your hands and knees and repeat this stretch 6 times. In yoga terms, these 3 poses are called cat pose, cow pose and downward facing dog.
  3. The pebble meditation: visualize a pebble which you gently cast into the water. Imagine standing by a beautiful lake and allow yourself to visualize the sounds and tranquillity that is surrounding you. See yourself pick up a pebble and throw it into the water. What are you feeling now? Allow the pebble to sink deeper and deeper. Have your feelings changed? Then finally let the pebble settle at the bottom of the lake. What are you sensing or thinking now?

Martine