Why is mindfulness such a hot topic right now?
Why are we selling coloring books by the truckload and why are yoga studios popping up on every corner?
Is it because all of our cells are over-stimulated most of the time?
In my house, we have five people going in different directions all the time, BUT that’s really not even the problem. It’s technology. I have a number of things I need to do on the computer from looking up phone numbers to paying bills, checking calendars etc. The problem is I turn it on and immediately forget what I’m doing. I look up a recipe on Pinterest or stumble onto facebook for too long before I remember what I was supposed to be doing. I absolutely know I’m not alone in this one. It’s sort of an inside joke that we are all in on. My phone dings and my attention turns to the sound. As much as I try to tune it out, it seems to provoke/invoke a false sense of urgency. Our phones are tools. They hold our schedules and our contacts and they are a lifeline to the outside world no matter where we are or how alone we might feel. They are incredible….I love my phone. However, I equally love being unplugged. Much of my screen time is reading and learning. I’m obsessed with a few groups I’m in on facebook. Fascinating information is shared and I just can’t get enough. The problem is the ease of acquiring this information, and my brain is constantly being stimulated.
This is where mindfulness makes an entrance. By purposely slowing down my thoughts and sometimes even my physical response to these thoughts, I am able to create a balance. Meditation is something many people feel is too hard to do and I totally understand. I think it’s an acquired taste. One worth acquiring, but in the meantime, try to practice purposeful quietness. Standing in line at a store, walking, drinking coffee… these are all great times to just be silent and let your head unwind from all the stimulation in our lives. One of my favorite exercises is to walk in the morning and listen. I listen for all the sounds. A quiet morning becomes alive with birds and wind and dogs barking and cars in the distance. At times it feels so loud and it’s at these times that I realize just how stimulated my poor brain must be most of the day. Practicing quiet doesn’t have to be long to make a difference. Five minutes at the beginning of a walk. A silent cup of coffee or tea. Just notice the flavor of the tea. Just listen to your breath. Just listen to the clock tick. Just relax and feel that you are nurturing yourself in a very important way.
Mindfulness is much bigger than it may seem to you right now. Give it a whirl and see how things start to change in your life. One of the groups I am on in Facebook is a breast cancer page. Many of these women are fighting breast cancer with alternative approaches and there is a lot of research on breaking down some emotional blockages and the effect it has on fighting tumors. I don’t do this because it’s trendy or feels good. I do this to stay healthy. Don’t let yourself get too caught up in superficial life and forget to truly live. Take some time to just be quiet and figure out those blockages and live the best life possible.
Five minutes….how will you spend five minutes of unstimulated relaxation? Go on, get balanced!