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The Art of Mindfulness: What is it and how to practice it

by Angela Counsel

The Art of Mindfulness what is it and


Mindfulness.

A word we’ve been hearing a lot of lately. Which is great. The more humans that act mindfully the better. Maybe we’ll tilt this crazy, tumultuous world back over towards the peace and joy it needs.

I was on a walk with a friend on the weekend and she was complaining about ‘mindfulness’.

“What is it? Everyone says it but what actually is it? And who has time to practice it???”

So before I suggested my Secret Mums Business Kickstart Program to her (helllloooo! Prime candidate for the program or what?) I explained what it is and gave her some tips on how to practice it. And thought I would share the same with you.

 

What is mindfulness? 

This is one of the better definitions I have found;

“Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on the moment and, without judgment, observing all aspects of the world around you as well as your thoughts, feelings and reactions.”

In my book, Secret Mums Business I talk about just Being. Mindfulness and just being go hand in hand together. Mindfulness allows you to be…

I also liked this definition because it references the therapeutic qualities of mindfulness.

“A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

 

So how do you do it? 

Here’s the thing and this is what I said to my friend on the weekend. There isn’t a pill to take – no quick fix – to practice mindfulness or just be. It takes a shift in mindset, dedication to a calmer way of living and thinking and the commitment to be less reactive and more in tune with the flow of yourself, people around you and your environment. It’s about not pushing back and creating stress, challenges and emotional drama where there simply is none of that.

Here are five things you can do to live mindfully and practice the art of mindfulness on a daily basis.

 

1. Get Present

Eckhart Tolle (I’ve posted about him before here) talks about there only ever being one moment. The present moment. And he’s right. Do you know how I know? I learnt the hard way. At my kids soccer games I would check emails on my phone and completely miss the goal they scored. “Mum did you see that?” they shout. And of course I answer that yes, I did…oops. And then the guilt sets in, then I get angry with myself for missing it, then I get angry with work for sending me emails that I have to check (really???) then I get angry with whoever invented the internet for making people so accessible these days because it’s all those people’s fault. Not mine! Or is it?

Living in the present moment and being totally immersed in that moment using all of your senses is a simply way to practice mindfulness.

 

2. Observe yourself from afar

This phrase always reminds me of the old Sesame Street skit where Grover demonstrates what ‘near’ and ‘far’ means by running close to the camera and then far away. Think about your life. Do you observe yourself? Or is your inner camera lens too close to you to ever see anything? Step out and away from yourself and observe how you react in situations. Become the observer to your reactions instead of being IN your reactions and watch how a moment of mindfulness and clarity can shift your behaviour in an instant from reactive to observation.

It’s a fantastic skill to have and can be mastered simply through an increased awareness of your surroundings, your triggers, your pain-body and your sub-conscious.

 

3. Be open to signs

Serendipity is one of my favourite words in the entire world.

“An aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.” Isn’t that a beautiful sentence right there?

The moment I stopped trying to control everything. And I mean everything!! Serendipity and these unconscious couplings of circumstance started to appear in my life. It’s all about being open to the signs that the universe, your angels, the source, whoever or whatever it is you believe in and pray to is sending you.

Opening your eyes to signs and coincidences is the universe’s way of giving you a gentle push in the right direction. Loving guidance. When you’re closed down to this and moving at a zillion miles an hour with stress in your soul, you see that push or guidance as an inconvenience and promptly do the opposite. Think about it…..

 

So I left my friend on the weekend with more of an understanding about mindfulness. And our last conversation was about a doctor’s visit she had yesterday. He’s not happy with her skyrocketing blood pressure and has told her to slow down, manage her stress and focus on taking up meditation. In other words, practicing the art of mindfulness…….

Well, well, well….what a coincidence! Or is that the gentle push in the back she needs?

 

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