What comes to mind when I say “Mindfulness meditation”?
Saffron clad monks sitting cross legged chanting, or wandering around your garden enjoying the sights, sounds and smells?
There are lots of ways to practice mindfulness
So what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about focussing on the present moment. It is not about switching off your thoughts; that just won’t happen it’s more about noticing them, being curious about them, not judging them and letting them pass. The more you practice the more “magic moments” of stillness you will discover.
Why do it?
It gives me a much needed release from incessant over thinking, planning the future, worrying about what might happen, concerned about what I did yesterday and how things went. As these “what if” scenarios play out in my mind, mindfulness helps me to create a moment of calm.
The research is now pretty conclusive, building in mindful moments during the day can improve your well-being, leave you feeling calmer and less stressed and more productive.
It took me a while to slip into a routine that suited me but for the last five months I have been meditating in the morning; and I miss it when I don’t do it. There is something magical about sitting quietly early in the morning before the world wakes up, well except for the milkman and the birds!
But that’s not the only way I practice mindfulness in the day, if I become aware that I am overthinking, or so busy I fool myself I can’t stop for a moment, I urge myself to do just that and wander into the garden. To either appreciate it or go do a spot of mindful gardening. Gardening can be a wonderful way to transport you into another time dimension, it’s like stepping through a portal into a world that is slower, one in which you become so immersed that you haven’t even worried about the passing of time. And you emerge with a clear head and dirty hands!
Radio 2 Feel good gardens at Chelsea flower show
Radio 2 are celebrating 50 years of broadcasting at Chelsea by creating gardens that will help us feel happier and calmer and help relax the mind by using our senses.
So why not join in and get the Radio 2 vibe, whether you have a garden, are taking a walk in the park, or walking past other people’s gardens, use your senses to help you tune into the moment and see what benefits you feel.
Taste – even if you just have a pot on your windowsill you can savour the taste of herbs, or plant up a pot on a balcony with a few lettuce. If you grow your own herbs and vegetables notice the difference between the supermarket version and ones you have grown yourself. If you have ever tasted a tomato fresh and warm from the greenhouse you will instantly know what I am talking about.
Scent – our sense of smell is so evocative; a smell can take us back to a time and a place, and bring back memories of someone special. For me the smell of chrysanthemum leaves remind me of my grandfather on his allotment, with strange visions of paper bags over flower heads!
Visual – What do you see in nature a riot of colour in your garden or the hedgerows or parks. Take a moment to notice the less obvious, overlooked things we take for granted because they have become so familiar to us or unwelcome sights because we class them as weeds.
Feel – Take off your shoes and walk bare foot on the grass, notice the feel of different leaves, from furry apple mint, to smooth sedum leaves.
Sound – what sounds can you immerse yourself in? Be it the dawn chorus, a wind chime, or sound of wind in the leaves.
Let nature soothe you and enjoy the moment.