photo 4c0ab605-01a9-4210-aaec-b1ae108053b1_zps3ab020b2.jpg In my job I am given the opportunity to learn about concepts and ideas that could help me support the young people I work with, and quite frequently I find myself personally benefiting from some of the information I come across. When I was asked if I wanted to go to a seminar on Mindfulness and its benefits I jumped at the chance to learn about what seems to be the latest craze and buzz word in the health and wellness field.

It appears that the current trend among young people (and us a little older for that matter) is that most of our time is spent so far away from whatever it is we are actually experiencing. We are re-living things that have already happened; things that we regret or are embarrassed about or wish had done differently, or we are worried about things that haven't happened yet; worried about how things may go or stressing about different possible outcomes of situations, or, and this is probably the most common among the Gen X-ers of the world, we are multi-tasking, having conversations with people online while we eat at restaurants, checking our Facebook while watching a movie, watching the news while we eat our dinner, you know how it is… And I myself am guilty of all of these things, in no small or infrequent way.

The concept of mindfulness is quite simple really, and yet it is one that I am finding more difficult than I thought I would to implement. Mindfulness involves us living in the present moment, being aware of our surroundings and sensory experiences, and accepting whatever feelings, emotions or sensations we may be experiencing at any one time. Something I found particularly interesting is that we can be mindful while doing anything, you can be in a mindful state when driving (it's probably encouraged that we are really), when eating, when spending time with people, even when watching a movie. It just involves really engaging in what is happening around you and how you feel. 

During the day we engaged in various activities around the different senses which really opened my eyes to the things going on around me that I am just not always aware of. Little activities like stopping, closing our eyes and identifying five different sounds we could hear, not out loud, just ourselves being aware of what was going on around us. We also did some breathing exercises which are quite similar to the kind of breathing you would do in yoga.

Some of the activities are things that I will be able to use with young people who have issues with anxiety or anger management, but I also took away so many things that I want to implement in my own life. For me, one of the reasons mindfulness stands out to me is that it isn't about cutting anything out of your life, it is a common misconception with meditative practice that it is about blocking everything out, being at one with only your thoughts and feeling bad if you day dream or your thoughts wander, I realise now that is not the case.  For me it is just about being where I am and enjoying what is happening, if I'm having a conversation with someone I want to really make sure I'm listening properly to what they are saying, if I am eating something delicious I am going to savour it and if I decide I want to watch a movie or an episode of something I am going to pay attention to it and enjoy it without checking my phone at the same time. I think I might be a work in progress for a while but I definitely think this is something I want to have a real go at doing properly.

Do you engage in mindfulness practice? Or do you have trouble staying in the 'present moment'? I'd love to hear your thoughts or experiences.

Zoe xx


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