Mindfulness has become a buzz word and is being rolled out through corporate, health sectors, schools and even in Government. It is an attention training technique known for reducing stress and increasing relaxation.
Mindfulness for women
Mindfulness isn’t just about calming down and observing your thoughts. Mindfulness is actually about waking up! It’s a tool to become totally aware in the present moment, feel radically alive and completely open to your own experience. Not only can life become more vivid, enjoyable and interesting, but mindfulness also brings the opportunity for profound healing of unhelpful mental and emotional patterns.
How? You might well ask.
Well here at One of many we use the Cycle of Creation as a way of describing how we create our reality. Simply put in any moment, we create meaning about that moment based on our beliefs, values, history, health and ideas about Source. This meaning then creates our mood and that feeling then impacts what we move towards.
This all generally happens unconsciously, which means we often get results in life that we don’t really want. However, mindfulness allows us to bring awareness to this process and to interrupt the habitual patterns of reaction that we have.
Mindfulness in practice
For example imagine walking into a restaurant to meet some friends, but as soon as they see you they all stop laughing. What do you make this situation mean? Do you think they were laughing about you, feel really uncomfortable and walk out? Or do you decide that they were planning a fun party for your birthday, feel really excited and try to tickle them into telling you? Either way the rest of your day will be impacted.
With mindfulness you can become aware of the thoughts you are having about your friends laughter and let them pass by. This can allow you to calmly ask them what was really going on without jumping to conclusions.
Bringing non-judgmental awareness to your thoughts can also set you free from habitual patterns such as self-criticism, negativity, discouragement and wallowing.
Emotions and mindfulness
It’s very powerful to bring acceptance to your emotions too. We tend to have a few emotions we like and lots that we don’t. However, if we take the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ labels off what we are feeling, we can bring compassionate acceptance to whatever emotions have turned up.
Judging and therefore avoiding emotions is at the core of most people’s challenges. If you are worried about your performance at work, you’re probably trying to avoid the feelings of failure. If you’re feeling jealous and trying to control who your partner is seeing, you are probably trying to avoid rejection. If you don’t want to ask questions at a seminar, you may be trying to avoid the feelings of humiliation you’d have if you get it wrong.
By bringing heartful awareness to your feelings you can learn to tolerate all of them. Emotions aren’t actually good or bad. They are just sensations. Some are pleasant and some are uncomfortable. With emotional equity you can welcome all of them, even the painful ones. This allows you to have an empowering conversation with your boss, shine the light of honest exploration with your partner or get a helpful answer to a burning question at a seminar.
This gives you the freedom to act from your heart, rather than from the old fears and patterns in your mind. I actually think heartfulness is a much better term than mindfulness! Bringing full hearted acceptance to your feelings is at the core of self love. And self love, as I’m sure you know, is the key for connecting with your yummy Lover powertype!
How to bring more mindfulness into your life
Here are some tips for cultivating Mindfulness:
- Mindful Moments
Set an hourly alarm on your phone and for one minute each hour close your eyes, feel your feet on the floor, notice your breathing and bring all of your attention inside your body to what you are experiencing
- Practicing Pauses
Instead of arriving somewhere and jumping straight out of the car onto the next appointment, turn off the engine, pause and fully arrive. Give yourself a minute to breathe, feel this moment before shifting to the next scene change in the movie of life.
- Body Awareness
Bring your focus to your right big toe. Take your awareness right inside your big toe and notice the sensations of your sock, shoe or the other toes against your big toe. Next move to your left thigh and feel the clothes on your leg or any pressure or tightness. Pick random parts of your body to pay attention to during your day.
- Mindful Movement
Instead of planning tomorrow’s supper when you are brushing your teeth, bring your full awareness to the feelings of the brush against your teeth, the toothpaste tingling on your tongue, the muscles in your arm holding your toothbush. Try paying full attention to every footfall while you are walking, feeling the wind flow past your face and the swing of your arms. Bring fresh awareness to drinking water so that you can feel the weight of the glass, the coolness of the water in your mouth and follow it all the way down your throat as you swallow.
- Cultivating Compassion
Send a warm smile of acceptance to all your emotions. Welcome them as a valid part of your experience. Without judgment or labels, gently investigate the sensations of each emotion. Where are they in your body, what shape, what colour, how do they move? Notice what actually happens when you let yourself feel even a bit of them. Does the world really end?!
Mindfulness isn’t just a practice, it’s a way of life. Practice regularly and it becomes a new way of finding peace with what happens in life, joy in the simplest things and a freedom to bring all your gifts to the world. Enjoy!
About Annie Stoker
Psychotherapist. Author. Property Investor. Dog-Lover. Chilled-Out Friend.
Annie Stoker is perhaps the UK’s most educated coach and trainer in what it takes to be happy. She has distilled 27 years experience in diverse psychological and spiritual perspectives into a simple but profound manual for the mind: The Personal Development Handbook.” She has coached influential figures, and been featured widely on TV, radio and in print.
Having experienced not just health and sickness, but also success and failure, marriage and divorce, wealth and poverty, Annie now knows that real growth is not another ‘let’s make it all ok’ campaign. It’s about finding the truth at the core of ourselves so that we have the inner freedom to deal with whatever life throws at us.
Annie is our Master Trainer and Head of Coaching at One of Many.
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