No doubt you’ve heard about mindfulness, it’s a style of mediation that has placed this ancient practice on the modern medical and cultural map. But what does mindfulness really mean and why all the fuss?
To be mindful of something is to give it your wholehearted focus. Ask yourself this, when was the last time you gave something no less than your complete and undivided attention? The truth is probably that like most of us, you spend your day juggling many things at once, which is in itself a phenomenal skill.
Multi tasking your way through life can be, at its absolute best, an exhilarating rush. There’s nothing wrong with being good at doing many things at once, however, when you perpetually spread yourself thin you become robbed of the spaciousness and the stillness that comes with a simple, singular focus. The beauty is you don't have choose one path or another, you just need to balance the mind’s need for stimulation with its need for silence.
Luckily practicing mindfulness is easy, its simply requires you to bring your awareness to your senses and notice what is already happening beneath the thrum of daily life. The focus of your attention can be anything. The magic is that by choosing a singular focus of attention the simplest things become absorbingly fascinating. A classic mindfulness technique is to allow your attention to become fully absorbed in your breath: start by feeling the sensations of the expansion and release of the air inside your lungs with each inhale and exhale. As you do notice how your mind starts to change gears and slow down.
Even a minute of mindfully observing your breathing can profoundly effect how you feel in body and mind.
You can also practice mindfulness in everyday activities like washing the dishes: just by taking your attention to the sensation of the warmth of the water on your hands or by noticing how the light dances in the soap suds. Any activity can be done mindfully just by being present to the sensations that are arising from moment to moment. The beauty of a singular focus is that it profoundly reduces overwhelm and allows your mind and nervous system to access states of rest.
Our lives are richer and more enjoyable when we experience fullness and emptiness, light and shade. If you regularly take time to be mindful, you’ll find yourself starting to notice and appreciate the little things in life again and rather than feeling saturated and overwhelmed with life you can better appreciate and savour the wonders we have literally all around us.
If you’d like to find out more about mindfulness please visit livewellnaturally.com.au/meditation-canberra/
Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stress, anxiety and depression.
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupuncture, herbal medicine and meditation.