Over the last couple of weeks I’ve felt like my mind has not been my own as I have battled to deal with the thoughts churning around in my mind about the stresses of a house sit ending with no more in sight (I’m homeless!) and a career crisis (I’m currently on a career break). This hasn’t been helped by the fact that I have spent much of that time alone attempting to write.
Mindfulness is a concept that I have been using to assist me through this rough patch. This concept was first introduced to me at the Kripalu Centre For Yoga & Health as we were encouraged to enjoy at least one mindful breakfast – no talking, reading or any distractions while eating. The aim was to be fully present while we ate and to be thankful for the food that we had. It was quite strange to begin with as I am used to doing something else while I eat but by the end of the meal I was not only mindful but thankful as well. The meal felt like it had lasted for a very long time and I felt very calm and relaxed.
Mindfulness is a tool that has its origins in Eastern meditation methods and can be used to bring yourself into the present. Being present is also a tool that is used by coaches as it is essential to ensure that you are providing the best service to your coaching clients.
Mediation and mindfulness have been found to have many positive effects including less emotional distress, less anxiety and stress and a more positive state of mind. Our minds make it difficult for us to fully live in the moment for two reasons:
1. our minds jump from topic to topic (even without a good coffee!) and are seldom in the moment. This becomes an issue as our minds swing to negative thoughts as easily as they swing to positive thoughts.
2. our minds like to revisit a pleasant past moment or a tantalising future moment and reject the present moment to do so.
Learning how to control where your mind travels and how long you allow it to remain in each of its destinations will free you from your mind’s automatic and sometimes unhelpful way of responding to certain situations. Is this easy to achieve? Yes and No. The concept itself is easy enough to grasp but your mind has been used to thinking in a certain way for a long time so it will take practise to retrain it to go where you want it to.
I’ve found that meditating for a few minutes a day has been helpful as it allowed me to give my mind a rest from all the churning thoughts. There are also mindfulness classes that you can attend plus I’ve been recommended a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn called “Whereever You Go, There You Are” which I will buy soon and report back on.
As I learn to live fully in the moment I find that I am enjoying each moment more. My enjoyment comes not just from the positive parts of my life but also from all the emotions and thought patterns that I am experiencing.