Mindfulness – What I’ve Learnt So Far

I’ve always liked the idea of mindfulness. Like many mums, I suffer with a nagging guilt that I don’t pay enough attention to the present, that I spend too much time on my phone whilst my children are growing up fast in front of me. I also liked the idea that mindfulness might help with my lack of patience and that it might help me to calm my brain from the constant thinking, planning and worrying; to enjoy more of the here and now.

After a taster session in July, I got hold of the book that was recommended by the tutor, and was immediately put off by the fact that you had to follow mediation exercises every day whilst reading the book. I was sceptical. I came up with a load of reasons this would be impossible to do, mostly revolving around having 2 young noisy children in the house. But in January with my resolutions for books to read this year, I decided to give this book another shot and MAKE time to do the meditations mostly whilst the youngest was at pre-school.

To start with, the meditation exercises are about 5 minutes and so I found it fairly easy to squeeze into my day and the novelty of listening to the CD meant I was concentrating but still frustrated that nothing was really “happening”.

As the weeks went on and the mediations got longer, I was finding it more of a chore. I was losing my concentration. Listening to the same mediation for a week meant I was often not really paying attention, I was just going through the motions to get the mediation done.

What Mindfulness is About

Ironically, this is what the practice of mindfulness is about. Recognising when your mind is wandering off and bringing your thoughts back to the present and what you’re supposed to be focusing on.

Things got interesting for me in about week 4 when the meditations began to focus more on thoughts and the thought process.

Mindfulness is about training your brain to accept what is happening in the present. It’s about calmly observing and accepting your thoughts and feelings and letting them be at that moment, whether they are happy or sad. It’s about recognising that brains often try to help solve problems or issues by reflecting on our past experiences. This can lead to a downward spiral of negativity, a constant feeling of “not being  good enough” or “a failure.”

Epiphany

My epiphany moment came this week when I realised that mindfulness won’t make me a happier person or a more patient person. The book talks about how it won’t provide a bridge between being unhappy and becoming happy. The aim is be more accepting of ourselves and observing our thoughts and feelings. In doing this, we take the pressure off ourselves to try and feel something else.

 

Some Points to Help With Training Your Brain to Keeping You in The Moment

As well as the daily meditations here are some of the other exercises that the book recommends to help you appreciate your present moment:

  • Changing routines and breaking habits. When we are on autopilot we don’t really think about what we are doing, so the book recommends you make an effort to sit in a different seat at work or at the dining room table and taking a different route on a regular journey.
  • Taking a walk once a week. And clearly noticing the sights and sounds that go on around you.
  • Fully concentrate on a daily job. Whether it’s brushing your teeth, boiling the kettle or doing the washing, by truly focusing on all the sights, sounds and other senses about that job that we often fail to notice.
  • Creating a list of things to be thankful for.
  • Only watching the TV programmes you want to watch instead of having it on constantly in the background.

What I Think Now

I’ve still got several weeks to go. I’m determined to finish the course. No doubt I’ll still have days where I feel that the meditations are a pain and a chore to do every day, especially as they now take half an hour out of my day.

Reading this post back, I realise that it sounds a bit fluffy and some people will think of it as mumbo jumbo, but I do believe that the brain behaves like a muscle which needs to be trained and exercised.

For me, I have found it useful to recognise when my brain is going into a cycle of reverting back to past situations or focuses on negative thoughts and to use the practice of mindfulness to break the cycle. Some of the tips mentioned above are also good to think about every now and then too.

I’m still a sucker for realising that I’ve been sat on my phone for 20 minutes or half an hour when I should be playing with my kids, but I’d like to think that I’m much more aware now of my mind patterns and keeping them in check now.

I’d love to hear about your experiences of mindfulness or if it’s something you would be willing to try?!

32 thoughts on “Mindfulness – What I’ve Learnt So Far

  1. I bought a book on mindfulness soon after my first was born and as you say I never made time to practice. After reading this, I feel I should push myself to make time for mindfulness as I feel I could really benefit from being more accepting of my situation. A very interesting read! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS, hope you come back again next Sunday x
    The Tale of Mummyhood recently posted…#Blogstravaganza #9My Profile

    1. It took me 6 months to start doing it after getting the book! It is definitely one of those things that you need to persevere with. X

  2. I really like the idea of mindfulness and have tried some of the above exercises, I find changing where I sit every day helps me focus more, luckily we have hot-desking at work! I really want to start meditating every day so I’m going to get this book as I think it will help me do this, I tried the headspace app but I keep forgetting or not making the time to do it eek. #bigpinklink

  3. I do my meditations at night in bed. I plug in and listen, then I go to sleep. It means going to bed half an hour earlier, and my husband often stays up about an hour longer than me so it works out fine. I think they work better as well if you listen before you go to sleep, your brain seems to absorb more. I do fall asleep while listening sometimes but if you are listening to same one more than once that doesn’t matter.
    #BigPinkLink
    Anne recently posted…Why Do We Worry About Our Kids?My Profile

    1. I’ve done this a couple of times and I like the idea of it going into your subconscious whilst you sleep! But I find meditations works best for me if I do it first thing in the morning or as soon as I can get to first thing before my brain goes into overdrive!

  4. I need more mindfulness in my life. I try little parts of it and it does provide so much benefit so I can only imagine how amazing it would be if I took it a little more seriously. Love how you’ve reached some great levels of self-awareness in such a short time. I may look a little deeper into this x #BigPinkLink
    justsayingmum recently posted…This Social Media World I’m InMy Profile

    1. I think the key is to really want to do the meditations and experience the benefits rather than just doing them as a job to get them out the way! I’ve done that a few times and it’s totally pointless. Good luck! X

  5. I think brain wandering is part of multi tasking, I’d never get enough done if I stuck to thinking about one thing at a time. I guess it is distracting if you do it too much though. Really interesting to see how this is working for you #BigPinkLink

    1. I know what you mean, we are all busy and need to multi task, I think this is more about enjoying the present. The meditations help to give you a breather. It’s also about being kinder and compassionate to yourself and other people which I guess is all good too! 😊

  6. I love the honesty that you’ve written about this with! I also like that mindfulness doesn’t claim to make that bridge from unhappy to happy-with so much out there claiming they can do this, it’s refreshing not to hear that! I would love to try this, and I know that like you, I’d find it hard. My concentration is getting steadily worse, and I can’t empty my brain for anything! But I like that you think that the brain can be trained to be able to do these things-it gives me hope! I’ll start with the headspace app and see how I get on! I love how your site is looking too! X
    #bigpinklink
    This Mum’s Life recently posted…Do I Need Anger Management?My Profile

    1. Thanks Lucy for all your comments! I find that I still have to really focus with meditating and tell myself that for 20 mins I need to stop thinking about the other stuff going on in my head and concentrate on what I’m listening to. Don’t think I could ever do it without the CD! I keep hearing about the headspace app. Think I need to have a look at that too once I’ve finished this book. X

  7. I have a designated 3 minute meditation which I try to do every day but it can be hard to keep to but it’s better than nothing. I find the greatest challenge is trying to work in mindfulness into every part of the day but then that make us more mindful to begin with I guess! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this xoxo
    Talya recently posted…My healthy carrot rice crispy treat recipe #TubForGrubMy Profile

  8. Interesting post. I’ve not really dabbled in mindfulness before but it is something I’d be interested in. Like you say, it’s so easy to let life pass you by whiling away the hours on social media or watching TV.

    #KCACOLS

  9. Wow this sounds really interesting but really hard too. I have started to meditate recently which I have found definitely helps with how I feel and my thoughts. However I’m finding it is more of a short term solution. I feel like I am quite mindful anyway but the book definitely looks like it is worth a read!

    Amina xx | http://www.AliandHer.com #coolmumclub

    1. It’s worth a go. The trick is to really make time and concentrate on doing it rather than trying to get it out the way or get it done! X

    1. I think the meditations are an essential part of training your brain and helping you to look at the world differently!

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