“I haven’t the time to be mindful, I am just too busy! Putting something else into my day actually makes me feel even more stressed and anxious, so this really isn’t for me.”
This is a conversation I have with clients and friends regularly. It feels counter-intuitive to put something else into our day to help us feel calm, more engaged in our life and reduce our stress. When our day is one long list of go go go, endless tasks and to-dos that we never seem to get on top of, the idea of finding any time to STOP and be can seem like a crazy suggestion.
Some clients who approach mindfulness without understanding find they spend the whole time of their meditation thinking about what else they should be getting on with.
I know it has for me at times. There is a famous saying, “if you haven’t enough time to meditate for five minutes then meditate for 30.”
What! Madness, how could that make any sense? What I actually want to happen is for my day to get slower, with less commitments, and demands on my time so that I can have the luxury of sitting on my meditation stool.
Here’s the thing: meditation is a tool to enhance your life, not add stress to it. If we approach our practice with the idea that it is another thing to tick of our list then we have lost the reason why we meditate in the first place.
Why we meditate
- To bring us into the present moment
- To learn to be with what is arising
- To create space in our inner environment
- To invite in the opportunity for wisdom to arise
- To enhance our experience in each moment
- To bring us out of fight flight response and engage the parasympathetic nervous system, calming us down and soothing our mind, body and spirit
- To help us let go of fixations and negative thought patterns
- To develop a kindness and compassion for ourselves and others
- To improve our physical and mental health
If a formal practise seems just a little too much for you right now. Then acknowledge that. Pause, breath and acknowledge that in this moment for now, for you, stopping and being still and giving yourself five minutes to “be” is just way outside of your comfort zone. Instead:
- Place a hand on your heart
- Send yourself kindness
- Acknowledge fully where you are and how you feel
- Let go of any judgement around that
- Breath in and out once deeply
Look for moments in your day when you can just move into the moment and engage your full awareness.
- Be fully present with your friends and family
- Notice the feeling of the warmth and flavour of your favourite beverage
- Regularly be aware of the quality and depth of your breath
- Take a full deep breath and feel gratitude for the food you are receiving at your meal times
- Sit and fully taste one meal with no distractions; just be there
By inserting informal practises into your day you begin to cultivate a mindful mindset, engage more fully in your day to day experience and start to create an mind that knows how to be in the here and now and relish the beauty in each moment.
Mindfulness is never a chore, a task, a job to be done, rather it brings colour, joy and deep wisdom to all that you do in each and every moment of your life.
Learn more about mindfulness at Anahata here.