You get immersed in your busy life. The reasons you want to be more mindful are the same reasons that make it feel you have no time for it!
Life feels like you’re on a carousel, where whirling thoughts take you round in circles. Or maybe it feels more like you’re on a conveyor belt that is transporting you from A to B with lots of detours, while your mind is on auto-pilot.
Some of the busiest and most stressful times of your life are also the same ones where mindful awareness are just the tools you need. Being mindful is a chance to remind yourself that life can be fun, enjoyable, calm and wonderful!
It doesn’t always feel like it though!
When students first start learning about mindfulness with me, they sometimes feel overwhelmed with the current state of their lives. So much so, that they believe it’s almost impossible to find time for mindfulness practice.
You are currently dealing with your daily tasks as though you’re being chased by a sabre-toothed tiger.
Your knee-jerk reaction is on repeat – all the little daily challenges keep eliciting your brain’s stress reaction. A little bit like that character in ‘Dad’s Army’ where he runs round in a state, shouting, ‘Don’t panic! Don’t panic!’ while clearly panicking!
Of course there isn’t really any sabre-toothed tiger hot on your heels, but your brain is interpreting danger and stress for things like:
- deadlines (getting out of the house on time each morning),
- parental duties (‘tidy this bedroom’, ‘have you done your homework’, ‘who left these muddy football boots on the floor?’ or ‘finish this meal, you must eat up all your broccoli’)
- expectations (family or friends are visiting so house must be immaculate, food perfect, your own clothes impeccable, your children behaving like angels etc)
- time-travel (not enough time in the day to get work and home balanced therefore desire to add a few extra hours each day)
- Money, money, money (there’s never enough …)
This list is pretty much endless, isn’t it?
So how can you be mindful with it all? There is no extra time it seems, and it feels like being chased by a tiger. The decision for mindfulness practice is to ‘make’ time for it rather than ‘find’ time.
Notice how Your Body is Reacting
You may find that your brain wants to help you out in this matter.
Your body’s signs of stress – like feeling bad-tempered, shoulders tense, shallow-breathing and a feeling of over-whelm, are attempting to assist you!
But running away, fighting or hiding are not always the best options.
Instead, you can notice how your body is reacting. Bring your awareness to your stress symptoms. Acknowledge, ‘Oh this is tough right now,’ and let yourself focus on a couple of long, deep breaths.
As you do this, your body will start to respond by balancing itself to a more steady response. The challenges are still there, but with a few mindful breaths and a compassionate approach to yourself, you can be in charge, present and in your own power.
Remember your Mindfulness Practice
This is how you begin a mindfulness practice.
When you regularly practice mindful meditation it is like giving yourself some calm space. It re-trains your brain to build new ways of dealing more effectively with challenges.
You’re then better able to remember to be mindful during the busy times.
Watch this great little animation and see how easy the choice can be:
‘The Wolf of Love, the Wolf of Fear’
by Sharon Salzburg
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide
Blog Updated April 2018