Mindfulness: is it just a Mind thing?
If you missed part one of my Mindfulness journey, exploring my reason for entering the world of Mindfulness, you can find it here.
Week four of my eight week experience now completed, I am half-way through. The course takes place in a rather lovely Georgian town house in one of London’s most lovely undiscovered Fitzroy square. I now find I look forward to my two hour sessions cocooned in a warm calming atmosphere with my likeminded Mindfulness practitioners. It seems incredible that no every Londoner is taking time out just to be in the present.
Weeks three and four have seen the introduction of Mindfulness movement which involved gentle stretches and basic yoga movements. I have found this really compliments the work I have done with my mind in respect to observing my mind and emotions and more importantly letting them pass after acknowledging them. Movement allows you to focus on your breath which is a key element to being in the moment. Daily 30 minute meditations have now permeated my life. Mindfulness is now everywhere with me and have really helped to calm me down in so many situations.
Here are a couple of examples how Mindfulness in the real world has helped me. After a number of exercises to see how stress and anger manifests itself in my body i.e. higher heart rate, deep breathing, clenched palms etc. I now have a number of warning signs to focus on when I feel my mood changing: getting annoyed, for example. My first example I was in a meeting with a colleague. I could see he was becoming agitated and stressed. My response was to use my skills learnt on Mindfulness. Feet on the floor, sit up, breath three deep breaths (I tried to do this without looking like a mad man!). I now see this as a game, one in which I need to get my point across in a simple statement and just let the person talk or shout as the case maybe. On this occasion I asked what he actually wanted me to do and left the statement at that. He talked on and asked me to stay behind after the meeting explaining further his reasoning. It’s amusing now for me as I feel more like a spectator and can see the other person’s anger, and this gives me more of an anchor. My emotions are kept in check, which in the past have controlled my responses and have not served me well.
My second example is very simple; I can set myself up for failure. I was running late and had not had lunch (I cannot cope with out lunch). I had five minutes to get to the canteen and I was five minutes away. I could feel myself getting stressed by texting zombies blocking my path. Suddenly I felt my heart rate increasing, palms sweating and I felt the ground under my feet: a key element of Mindfulness in the now. I stopped, thought to myself: stop, buy some lunch, and take it back to the canteen with me. Straight away my heart rate regulated and I had averted a stress situation. For the record, I arrived back and the canteen was closed. If I had not bought food my blood pressure would have increased and I would have been angry. I am sure we can all emphasise with this kind of scenario, of course Mindfulness does not cure this from happening but it does make you aware of the warning signs and gives you the opportunity to observe the emotion.
Along with mindfulness I have been conscious of respecting my body more. With this in mind I decided I wanted to train in the gym but wanted to ensure I did no more damage to my mid-forties back so decided on a trainer. With Mindfulness and training I can assure you it’s a great way to regulate your body and mind.