It’s so easy to spend our time rushing around; rushing to get ready, rushing to get to work, rushing to get the house work done, rushing to get the food shopping in, rushing to get dinner on the table at a reasonable time, rushing for all other rushing purposes. It’s also really easy to be lost in our own thoughts, worrying about the future, thinking about the past while trying to draw a new chapter. Then, before we know it, we’ve spiralled into deep negativity, which is associated with stress, anxiety and depression. Yet, it’s so hard to stop rushing and just be present; present with those around us, present with our own selves, present with our own thoughts, present with the sounds of nature right here, right now.
However, by being more mindful and taking more notice (literally) of the present world around us, we are then able to appreciate the little things in life that are going on and, this in turn will prevent negative thoughts, which will prevent stress and its consequences. Mindfulness is, slowly, becoming more known in the Western world, yet more people don’t know, than know, just exactly what it is. Mindfulness is quite simply the act of being attentive to the present moment; not thinking about the past, not thinking about the future. It sounds simple, but many people are actually not present and would find it extremely difficult to just be.
To prove its importance, a few years ago, The New Economics Foundation came up with the ‘5 ways of wellbeing’, a project based on evidence that aims to increase a person’s wellbeing, quite simply by that person meeting each of the 5 suggested ways. The 5 areas are: Connect (i.e connect and communicate with others), Be Active (i.e to engage in more physical activity), Take Notice (i.e look at your surroundings and the little things in life), Learn (i.e a new fact, a language, or read) and finally, Give (i.e to give back to others). These 5 areas are vastly important and are very achievable within a day-to-day routine and it is understandable why evidence has shown that those who meet these 5 areas regularly report a better sense of well being in health questionaires than those who do not meet these areas.
Mindfulness and taking notice does not involve any equipment and it certainly does not have to involve sitting in a room cross-legged with insent sticks burning – though you can do that if you want to! You can take notice in bed, during your commute, while getting your hair done, while sitting in the park, anywhere! However, if you’re struggling or find this concept odd (which it can be if you’ve never done it before), I would recommend that you simply spend 5 minutes wherever you are right now in silence, with no technology on (including being away from your phone) and progress from there. Or, perhaps attend a yoga/pilates class so that you can be properly instructed by an expert.
So, what things can we take more notice of, in order to be more mindful?
- The change of season
- The weather
- The sounds of birds singing
- The sound of our own breath
- The leaves on the ground
- The neighbourhood
- The ripples in water
- The shapes that clouds make
- The scenery
- The texture of the ground
- The temperature
Can you think of anything more? Set a goal tomorrow and challenge yourself to take more notice of the world around you and, take notice of how taking more notice makes you feel!
© 2017. Naomi Laws. All rights reserved.