Mindfulness is a practice that has increased its popularity in the western world over the last couple of years. It stems from the Buddhist faith, originating in the East, concentrating on remaining focused on the present moment. Western science has also become more heavily involved in the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, including the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness doesn’t necessarily mean you need to sit on your floor, palms facing upwards in a state of cosmic bliss. It can be as simple are concentrating on the act of making a tea. Get your mug out of the cupboard and actively place it on the surface; don’t just do it out of habit, focus on the act of this motion. Boil the kettle and wait, and maybe listen to the sound your kettle actually makes. Whistling, bubbling and the rest. You’ll find it much more difficult to stand there for two minutes actively observing, listening and being all around aware of the kettle boiling, than you’d think. We are so used to putting the kettle on and then busying ourselves while it boils that we don’t ever listen to the sound it makes. Once you’ve let the kettle finish, put your chosen tea bag and other accompaniments in the mug, avoiding the argument about milk before water or water before milk. Now pour the water over the tea bag or coffee granules and take a deep breath inwards, actively smell your chosen drink with intent. Now that was two to three minutes of your life lived mindfully without listening to a track entitled “sounds of the universe.”
This is by no means me bashing listening to “sounds of the universe.” I myself am a great fan of putting on nature sounds or a guided mediation and just enjoying that moment for what it is. But if doing that feels too much, mindfully following through some of your day-to-day activities can make you so much more aware and grateful for the world around you. Mindful walking and mindful eating are also recommended activities to increase awareness of your body and the world around you. If you have a Spotify account there is a specific playlist that includes 10 free headspace meditations, including mindful walking, eating and 10 minutes of guided or unguided meditation. It is one thing I would definitely recommended if you are feeling overwhelmed by thoughts or emotions. It is especially important to give yourself some time where your thoughts are not needed or allowed to spiral if you’re feeling this way.
As far as free apps for some further guided mediations go; Calm, Insight Timer, Spotify and just Googling online can produce some gems for mindfulness or meditation!