The word ‘mindfulness’ seems like a new addition to the English lexicon and, since about 2012, it has been on the lips of every successful person to appear on television alongside the global conversation about mental health. But still, few really understand what it means to be ‘mindful’ or how such a simple practice can have such a profound effect on our mental health and, of course, our lives.
Mindfulness has become so useful and mainstream that many companies now offer mindfulness mornings to their employees to help them clear their minds. Mindfulness techniques are also taught all over the world to people of all ages and backgrounds.
For our last Zoom Seminar, we reached out to expert Pamela Barit Nolan to tell us the how’s, what’s and why’s of the practice that is enriching lives all over the world at a time when anxieties are high. Pamela explained to us that mindfulness is, in simple terms, the practice of quieting the mind.
Quieting the mind by closing one’s eyes (if it pleases you) and focusing on the sensations of touch and hearing the light sounds around us is a way of decluttering the mind, filtering our unhelpful or overwhelming thoughts, and essentially creating a space for your mind and body to breathe.
You may not notice it, but going from action to action without any real rest adds pressure atop pressure in your life, though you might not realise it because this is how we’ve all been programmed to live. Staying engaged and not allowing for silence and peace of mind is normal in today’s age.
Mindfulness is all about allowing your mind to be free from thoughts, concentrate on your breathing and your lungs filling up, your body filling up, think of it as light filling your body. There are many rituals one can have when they begin practicing mindfulness, but the most important things to do are to find a quiet space, close your eyes, and begin by focusing on your breathing.
Listen to the sound of your breathing, focus on the sensation of your chest rising and falling. It is in this space that your mind finds the peace that it requires. Pamela told us that practicing mindfulness should, at the beginning, last around 2-3 minutes, and continue practicing until one can enter this state for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 days per week.
A useful tool for beginners, Pamela told us, is Headspace, a mindfulness app that guides beginners until they reach their mindfulness goals.
Have you decided to give mindfulness a try? We know we have. Keep your eyes peeled for our next Zoom Seminar coming early next week. We hope that you can find some inner-peace between now and then.