I was going to name this blog as ‘Mindfulness starts in the toilet’, however, I quickly realized that I am a mother. Both my kids are over 5 years and I have only just started having occasional lone moments in the toilet without hearing ‘mummy, mummy, mummy’ a hundred times. Never mind that.
But why toilet, you ask?
Why not? Isn’t that the place many of us like to take our mobile phones and endlessly scroll through social media smiling, laughing, thinking, dreaming, and even feeling jealous? It is a time you take a break from reality. Don’t agree? Ask a mother and she will tell you how much she looks forward to go to the toilet to get some peaceful ‘me-time’.
Minus the phone, I am sure you will have the same amount of time to be mindful, although, I agree it might not be the best place for deep breathing! Let’s see how, later in the blog.
Before reading ahead just take a quick peep out of your window. Don’t have a window? Just span the area around you. What did you see? Can you list about 10 minute details about the scene you just saw?
Many people cannot describe things in detail or recollect the scene with minute details.
However, do you remember the feeling when you walked down the shore, the sun going down leaving behind a crimson sky, the ice cold water lapping at your feet and the rustling waters lulling and calming your mind? Or, the day when you went to a hill-station, reached a view point and took in every inch of the breath-taking magnificence of nature and felt calm and still?
So, what is happening here exactly? If nature is calming, does this mean every person living in a hill-station is calm and peaceful?
No. So, what is causing the calming effect?
When you were on the beach or a scenic hill-station, you took time to be mindful about your surroundings and being mindful calmed your mind and soul. In our daily lives, we outsource the routine stuffs and activities to our subconscious mind. We hardly take time to do things mindfully which is why we rarely notice anything while traveling to office or take in the scene outside your window.
But, what is mindfulness?
In simple terms, it is just observing, feeling and experiencing everything around you without labelling or analysing. Just being aware of the present moment. Be like a child when you practice mindfulness. Wonder as though you have never seen it before and observe things without judgement, analysis or preconceived ideas. Lets begin!
5 practical places to practice mindfulness:
As promised earlier in the blog, let me start with this. Whether you are at home or office, take this moment to be mindful, first on the activity that you intend to do, and next, to observe things. If you are wearing any rings, bracelets or watch, start with observing the design. Touch and feel the texture, see if it shines more in any particular angle, perceive the intricate designs. Or, simply notice the texture of your clothes, shoes, your palms, nails, skin and observe if there are any new lines on your palms. Sounds doable?
Our cities are traffic havens and we all have spent enough time cursing the traffic, other drivers, and the government. Instead, I realized that it is the perfect time to not think about any of these and just observe things around you. The vehicles, colors, trees, stores, traffic lights, buildings, roads and just about anything around you. You will be amazed to see the patterns, random stuffs and other minute details on the same route which you take every day. Instead of getting agitated you will notice how calm it will make you.
Being mindful at the dining table not only brings you calm but also helps you enjoy your food, chew appropriately and improves digestion tremendously. It also avoids bloating and constipation. Even if you dedicate one meal time during the entire day to eat mindfully, it is a great start!
Right outside your window/door
Take a few minutes to just stare out of the window or door during the day. It not only gives you visual stimuli but also helps relax your mind. Whether you see a busy road, buildings or trees, just observing the scene outside mindfully can alleviate your stress. The stillness of the scene outside, the movements of people and vehicles, and the natural sounds will lighten your mind.
I must agree that this is one of my favourite places to be mindful. With the warm water caressing your body, the mild perfume of your soap and the soft foam nuzzling you, you can make it a moment to not only cleanse your body but also cleanse your mind. Feel the water, observe how you feel as the water comforts you, see how the water drips from the shower and be there in the moment.
As you ponder over these places, you will realize that you can be mindful just about anywhere. All you have to do is pull yourself back to the present moment and just observe your feelings and things around you like a child watching with wonder. Also, take a few long, deep breaths and it can be the quickest way to relax and lighten your cluttered mind. Let the magic begin!