Thursday, 10 September 2015

Staying Mindful

Hello there pumpkins,

I thought a brief post on keeping mindful was in order. The colder months can throw anyone into an onset of the blues, and considering I am descending rather rapidly at the moment, a useful list of techniques is convenient.
  •  Try to observe your environment, pay attention and notice the strength of the passing breeze; rays of clinquant sunlight; gentle or thumping rainfall. Utilize every one of your senses and immerse yourself into the earth below your feet, breathe. Whether traveling to work or school, standing in line or stuck in traffic; be mindful of your thoughts and stay in the present moment. Are you ruminating about events that could occur later on in the day? Relax your shoulders and clear your mind.
I frequently practiced this particular technique when walking to college or sat on the bus, for example. If you often struggle with anxiety, this is a great (simple and surprisingly helpful) way to pay less attention to the crowds around you and focus on purely yourself. I found myself appreciating the world to such a new-found extent, that its beauty gave me the little hope I needed to get through the day.
  • Though this may be quite obvious, just take some time to practice mindful breathing. This form of meditation is so underestimated considering how effective it can be. Especially prior to exams, interviews or when you find yourself so stressed you're about to implode and melt your desk in boiling lava. Simply stop, focus and breathe. Happy days. 
  •  Use the miracle of sound to clear your mood. Silence and music are equally effective on their own. Sitting or going about your daily routine is highly valuable in complete silence. Just as setting aside your phone whilst on a looped-playlist of soothing music allows you to truly appreciate the sound waves flowing in and out your ears. 
I'd personally recommend a notable album, Classical Chill out, which can be found on iTunes (etc), I adore it. If it's really not to your taste, a rather magnificent app which is a condensed version of their website, Calm. It offers realistic soundscapes, visuals and relaxing ambiance, including timed sessions and meditation. Seriously, check it out if you haven't already, it's amazing. I know a few YouTuber's have raved about the book, but this is a genuine help to myself and a lot of people
  • Art. Need I say more? Practically most forms of the creative arts have a therapeutic response, separating our thoughts and restraints and expressing them through different mediums. Whilst I paint, my mind is completely clear, focusing only on my work. The same effect comes with clay-modelling, you feel yourself getting lost in the moment, where your worries impregnate themselves into the artistic outcome, which is why 'art therapy' is so popular. 
To be quite honest, I normally combine both music/soundtracks with the arts, it works wonders.
"Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally." -Jon Kabat-Zinn
Nonjudgmentally is the key here. Walking through the forests you do not criticize the trees for being 'too tall', 'too thick' or 'too withered', you simply acknowledge its existence. You know that it grew to be that way, and that it is a physical thing you are witnessing before your very eyes. So, try turning people, objects and your surroundings into trees. (Metaphorically of course, unless you're a wizard then go for it). That means appreciating things for just the way they are, allow them.

And allow yourself.

Take care, love life, stay mindful,

B x