You may have noticed that there is a dizzying array of information available about meditation and mindfulness, with endless guides and courses that promise to teach you all the very best techniques.
Ironically, some of this information can give the impression that, far from being easy to practise, mindfulness and meditation are complicated, drawn-out and often very expensive processes. This can lead to a disappointing feeling of failure if you don’t succeed in reaching that ‘ideal’ state of mindfulness.
I’ll let you into a little secret. I’ve tried meditation many times, and I just can’t get on with it. If this is something you can relate to, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean that our minds are too busy to stop, that we’ve failed, or that we’re simply not able to switch off!
Perhaps it just means that we have to find a different way to relax and be mindful instead.
How do you disconnect?
Our minds are naturally very good at disconnecting us from the outside world – though often when we should be paying attention! For example, it is quite common for people to talk about driving their car along such a familiar route that they don’t remember the actual journey.
You have probably experienced becoming so engrossed in an activity that you forget the outside world for a while. Perhaps you enjoy going for a run, or absorbing yourself in music. For me, it happens whenever I take up my knitting needles!
Practise easy mindfulness every day
Before my coaching sessions, I will often ask my clients to join me in spending a few moments silently observing our feelings. This simple process helps both of us to prepare for the session ahead, centre ourselves and ensure we get the best from our time together.
My clients reported that they found this exercise very helpful (as did I), which made me realise that mindfulness is something we can all indulge in every single day, without spending too much time or money. All we need to do is quickly ‘plug ourselves in’ at certain points in the day.
When you wake up in the morning, simply take a moment to observe how you’re feeling. Keep doing this at regular intervals throughout the day.
This process will soon become second-nature, and I think you will be surprised at how quickly you come to identify and centre your feelings. Doing this will help prepare you for work and life, and allows some much-needed time to focus – something we all heartily deserve!