Time or lack of it is often cited as a key reason for not doing things that are good for us. 'I don't have enough time' or 'I'm too busy' are no longer acceptable excuses.
For the most part, we have all had more time to ourselves during lockdown compared to the previous 'normal' and this will continue to some degree in phase 3. Even though we are going out more than a few weeks ago, we continue to spend more time at home and for many of us more time alone than before we had heard of COVID-19.
The global pandemic has brought about many stresses and problems but it has also given us a chance to slow down, look inward and see things differently. The silver lining of the extra time we all have is that we have more time to do things like meditation - which has many positive benefits for mind, body and spirit-from improved sleep and focus to effective stress management and alleviating anxiety. Even 10 minutes a day can make a big difference. And the good thing is that there are different practices to suit different personalities, moods and mindsets. Some prefer more spiritual types of meditation. Some like going on guided journeys. Some like physical movement such as yoga or tai chi.
How to practice
Start by devoting 10 minutes of your day to a mindfulness practice. It's easy. Just follow these steps:
1. Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor. Or you can also choose to lie down. So long as you're comfortable, any option works.
2. Close your eyes and bring your attention towards your breath. Start by counting the number of times you inhale and exhale
3. You will find your mind starts to wander, and you will lose count of what breath you're on. Notice when your mind is wandering and guide it back to the breath gently and without judgement.
4. Continue this practice, and have a timer set for 10 minutes so you can keep track of time without having to think about it. Later, you can change the focus of the practice to other sensations and or your environment.
5. Over time you will notice the patterns of your thoughts.
6. If anxiety comes, focus on where you feel it in your body and breathe into that area and feel it pass.
7. Practice mindfulness and be mindful at work and in daily life.
As time passes, you will notice your thoughts don't stop. They slow down. Mindfulness is not about stopping the thought process. It is about being conscious of it and not attaching to it.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully paying attention to what is happening in the moment, and accepting it without judgement. It involves a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and environment.
How it helps:
- It is a tool to effectively manage stress
- It is a workout for your mind making it strong, balanced and flexible
- Mindfulness aids in focus which boosts performance and happiness levels.
- Meditation enhances leadership skills. When you are calm in a crisis you can think beyond yourself.
- It improves sleep, relaxation intuition, health and creativity
- It helps you reset and recharge your batters.
- And it alleviates anxiety and depression
You will be amazed the difference even a simple practice such as this can make to your daily life.
Start today and enjoy the powerful results it brings.