Making Time To Be Mindful

Posted by: | June 30, 2010

By Thea Treahy-Geofreda

As I counted the days to my summer vacation, I found myself yearning more and more for that well deserved break. Finally having the time to just sit back and relax will be amazing. Ironically, it wasn’t until the day before this trip I realized I could achieve this desired sense of mental repose from my very own desk.

It was Friday afternoon, following a hectic week at work. Ensuring the essentials were taken care of before fleeing was never an easy task, as I’m sure you can relate to. It seemed my to-do list was endless and above all, a session on meditation and mindfulness occupied the lunch block on my Outlook calendar. Although I could feel the day slipping away with still so much to accomplish I decided to attend.

Formerly, I had never explored meditation and had very rarely taken the time to just “be”. The interest to participate in such practices were previously nonexistent and I had never been taught the importance of just spending time with myself. That Friday afternoon seemed like as good a time as any to begin a new personal journey; besides I had my whole vacation to master the art.

I diligently took mental notes throughout the session, ensuring I captured each and every detail. After little time, I quickly began to understand the importance of being self aware (as you soon will too), though it wasn’t until after physically practicing this self reflection I realized it was time to start incorporating it into my daily life.

The presenter took us through the following steps slowly as we gradually found our own state of relaxation:

  1. Place both feet flat on the floor (seated or standing) and close your eyes if this comfortable for you.
  2. Begin to notice your breathing. Are your breaths coming from your chest or your belly? How fast (or slow) are your breaths? Feel your lungs fill in and out, in and out…
  3. Begin to notice your surroundings. First the chair or floor beneath you, feeling the fabric, the texture, etc. Secondly, feast on the colours, sounds or silence that surrounds you. Focus your energy on one stimulus at a time.
  4. Begin to feel your internal self. Notice the blood flowing through your limbs, your stomach churning and digesting, the muscle fibers slowly relaxing, etc.
  5. Slowly begin to work backwards through the steps, eventually noticing your breathing again. Slowly open your eyes (if closed) and slowly direct your focus back to the task at hand.

I believe having the capability to “check out” like this for a few moments a day will inevitably allow my physical and mental self the opportunity to regroup, relax and recharge. After only a few minutes of relaxing in this way and becoming mindful of myself and my surroundings, I feel I can tackle the day’s tasks again. It is as important to allow yourself mental microbreaks as it is physical breaks like quickly walking around the office.

So tell me, how do you feel after working through the steps?

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