When was the last time you stopped for a moment and just focused on taking 3 deep breaths?

Nothing else. Completely stopped everything.
Stopped thinking about all the stuff that’s buzzing in your head.
And just breathed?

If you’re anything like me you’ll be thinking “Oh I do that all the time…” and then actually think about it properly and realise that it’s nowhere near as often as you thought.

Amazing really how such a simple task can seem to go days, weeks or even months without happening, even though we breathe in and out all day every day. It’s so easy to be blasé about it and think it doesn’t really matter and yet we know that study after study has proven it to reduce anxiety and stress and is a much-loved tool to help with depression.

It really does matter.

Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word these days but it turns out we’ve been practicing it for centuries. The word itself stems from the term ‘Sati’ of the Pali language and is an essential part of Buddhism. The word was first coined in English back in the 19th Century by a chap called Thomas Rhys Davids, but my how it’s grown since then, especially since 1979, when the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course was first created (which is now a mainstream part of the health care system).

I’ve done quite a lot of self development work over the years and on reflection, I can certainly see elements of mindfulness woven into a variety of different holistic approaches.

I fondly remember a particular Yes Group event in Norwich when Shamash Alidina spoke about his book ‘Mindfulness For Dummies’ and we did a little meditation during his talk which was super fast and super relaxing. I really enjoyed his style and he piqued my interest in the subject. Scroll down to see him in action…

Since then I’ve seen it coming up more and more often and really positively impacting people’s lives. I attended a lovely workshop on the subject, run by Debi Haden, last year and it was yet another reminder to me of the importance of taking time out from your busy schedule just to ‘be’, even if it’s just for a moment.

It’s not complicated; it’s beautifully simple and so effective.

The more mindfulness is incorporated into your weekly routine the easier it is to find clarity of thought, reduce overwhelm, be more productive and so feel more successful and fulfilled.

I have a little mindfulness challenge for you if you’re up for it? 

Practice mindfulness for 1 minute every day this week and then feedback and let me know how it’s made you feel.

  1. Set a timer for 60 seconds (or just go with the flow and see what happens)
  2. Focus on one thing (for example, your breath) 3
  3. If your mind wanders off simply notice it wandered and
  4. Shift attention back to that one thing again and continue until the minute is over

Why don’t you start right now?

Just 1 minute… go for it! 😉

How did you feel afterwards?
How is it different to how you felt before you did it?

And of course, if you manage to do it every day this week, do you feel any different?

Wishing you a peaceful and mindful week ahead.

Sophie
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