As we all know Christmas time is a very busy time, presents, end of year school parties, functions, planning school holidays, visits from family and in-laws and much more.
Although it is a time for fun, it can often feel chaotic and rushed, especially for you – the mum!
The challenges are not going to disappear by magic, but you can take some steps towards creating your own internal and blissful self.
Here’s how; I am a teacher of mindfulness and meditation and I will share with you some of the latest mindfulness training ideas, but first, let’s answer one crucial question.
What is true mindfulness?
Mindfulness is not just a series of granular tools or techniques to calm the mind so we can de-stress.
Mindfulness is learning the art of staying present in every moment so that our right brains (creative minds) can freely give 100% attention to any given task; as opposed to our left brains (logical minds) trying to juggle 50 ideas and doing none of them very well.
Mindfulness training therefore is about creative focus and how we can oscillate appropriately between our right and left brains to live a rich, balanced and happy life.
Here are my top 5 mindfulness training ideas to help you get into the zone:
- Spend time meditating. 5 mins a day is ALL you need to start. You need to train your mind to focus on a landscape (I prefer creative visualisation meditations), a word, a theme, a mantra or your breath. This idea is to coach your mind to keep coming back to visual/feeling you are meditating on – even if you wander off a zillion times that’s ok and part of the practice – so eventually you can stay focussed for a long period of time. Meditating is critical for mindfulness.
- Creative hobbies. Do this when your children are doing theirs! Creative tasks like playing music, dancing, painting, cooking, gardening and so forth require your 100% attention and it’s hard to think about the future schedule when you are cracking out a tune on the guitar and keeping in rhythm with lyrics. Creative hobbies engage your mind and they need to be enjoyable and fun. Don’t paint if you don’t like it!
- The Filing Cabinet. A great little technique to tell that crazy brain to shut down for the day! Your left brain will think about life, work, challenges or admin long after you want it to. I did a recent mindfulness training Sydney class whereby I asked clients to draw their most creative version of a kick ass filing cabinet and at the end of their day – stuff all of their “to do” items in it – lock it up (metaphorically) and pocket the key. Knowing that you can always open it up again the next day and pick up where you left off. It’s a great way of clearing out your head.
- Engage your physical senses. A big part of mindfulness training is to stay present in your body; that means to feel all of your physical senses connected to sight, sound, smells, touch and taste. You would be surprised how this exercise can suddenly bring you back from a panic attack or a stressed space. Try massaging your feet or slowly chewing your food. Stop and sense the wind on your face, the sun on your head and the sounds you can hear. This is probably the quickest way you can “ground” yourself which means to come back into your body and be mindful of everything going on around you
- Take deep breaths. Your rate of breathing controls how calm and balanced you are (hence how mindful you can possibly be). Shallow quick breathing sends messages to the body and brain that you are under stress. Of course it is a mind body loop because when you are stressed the first thing you tend to do is take shorter and quicker breaths! Practice slow and deep breathing regularly so you feel what it is like to have this flowing even life force. Maybe try to do this in peaceful times so that when you do feel stressed, you can easily apply the technique to bring you back to a mindful state.
Want more ways to implement mindfulness? Click here for more information.