Meditation and mindfulness - Bring yourself back to who you are just by living in the moment.

Anyone can achieve mindfulness. You don’t even need to be spiritual to do it.
In a world of competition, work, media and emotional issues it’s easy to forget yourself, and every now and then it’s not a bad idea to bring yourself back in touch with who you really are.

Meditation can seem like a bit of a chore. You automatically picture someone with their legs crossed on the floor surrounded by candles, oils and making humming sounds. But that’s not necessarily how it has to work.

Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice and is about “simply being”, just by being present in the moment. You can even pay attention to sound, movement and feelings that run through your mind but the point of it is literally to just “go with the flow” . It is about increasing awareness in the present moment, allowing you to gain clarity by being receptive to the things that surround you such as the birds in the sky or the sound of someone else’s voice, even the simplest of things can help, such as becoming aware of our breathing.
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A good way to start with mindfulness is by paying attention to things you would normally do without thinking. For example, you may clean the house everyday, you may walk the dog or you may travel to work without actually being aware of what you are doing, taking in unwanted feelings without paying attention to the environment around you. We tend to do things on auto pilot, allowing the days to pass us by without really being present in the moment. But as soon as we do stop we magically become aware of our habits, our patterns and our ways of thinking. Mindfulness teaches you to be more alert within yourself, opening you up to balance and stillness.

You don’t even have to put any real effort in with mindfulness. Sound too easy? Well it isn’t!

Bringing things back to the basics can help put all sorts of things into perspective. If we allow ourselves to become aware of the bodies sensations and movements we are also allowing ourselves freedom and a wider space to think. It may sound ridiculously simple and perhaps a little silly even but many people begin to notice a vast difference in their lives just by being mindful.

Some people like to be mindful just before they go to bed as it’s the perfect way to wind down. But of course mindfulness can be achieved any time of the day and whenever you feel you need it. You can either choose a quiet space or practice your breathing throughout the day in stressful environments to see if it benefits you. You will eventually be able to achieve mindfulness naturally after practicing it on a regular basis.

Being aware of your breathing

Here are some simple steps if you are trying to achieve mindfulness for the first time:

Find a quiet space and sit comfortably with your eyes closed.
Listen to your breathing
Become aware of your breathing
When thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations in the body occur simply accept them.
Allow them to come and go, acknowledge them, but don’t worry about them
There is no need to judge your thoughts or feel like you have to do anything with them. Just simply be aware that they are there
If you notice that your attention has drifted off a little then that is fine too just bring your attention back to your breathing again
Even if your thoughts keep wondering, just keep bringing your attention back to your breathing and see how you feel

It’s that simple!

Here are some other things to try which may help you

When you go to bed at night pay attention to your breathing or –
Notice your partners breathing as he/she falls asleep. Does it relax you? How does it make you feel?

When you wake up in the morning and step out of bed pay attention to everything that surrounds you. When you put your foot on the floor what are you treading on? Take note of the sensation. Does it feel soft? Does it feel rough? How does it make you feel?

What do you eat for breakfast? What do you drink? If it’s orange juice for example note how the liquid travels through the body how does it taste? Look out for specific details you may discover sensations and feelings that you didn’t notice or appreciate before.

How does the air feel when you step outside? Is there a particular smell? Does it feel cool? Does it feel just right? Are there any animals in sight? What are they doing?

Look out for specific colours perhaps and just simply enjoy being. Enjoy living the moment.

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