Over the last few days, I’ve been anxiously waiting for an email to land in my inbox. This has meant that whenever my phone pings, I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and rush to check it. Turns out I can’t multitask as well as I thought I could.
Frustrated with myself for not being able to focus on one task without reaching to refresh my emails, I had a look at mindfulness. In a nutshell, to be mindful is to be aware of the present moment – to take the time to notice one’s body and one’s surroundings. This is not to say that thoughts about the past and future should be neglected, but rather that the mind should not be consumed by them.
It is a 2,500-year-old tradition which, according to Professor Mark Williams, ultimately makes it possible to reconstruct destructive emotions and re-engage with the actuality of life. In a Western World obsessed with screens, success and image, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to practice.
My only experience of mindfulness is through a weekly yoga class. During these hour-long sessions, not once have I felt self-conscious, competitive, embarrassed or compared myself to someone else. Spending the time to focus on my body and my breath has only been positive.
But the effects of this don’t last forever. Everything I’ve read so far about mindfulness tells me that, in order for it to work, it needs to become part of one’s daily routine. And so, I will attempt to do just that, from adult colouring to meditation.
I jumped straight in with a mindfulness mediation app – Stop, Breathe, Think. Already won over by its design, I was drawn in further by how much the app tailors itself to fit how you’re feeling. On opening the app, you can ‘check-in’ with how you’re feeling mentally, physically and emotionally. Today, I just so happened to feel creative, grounded, calm, open-minded and connected. I was then given an option of two free tailored meditations. I went for relax, ground and clear, which lasted for about 13 minutes.
At first, the combination of sitting still and breathing deeply felt oddly claustrophobic. But as soon as I relaxed into it, my mind started to wander less, I stopped thinking about what I wanted for dinner and focused on what was actually going on around me.
As with all new routines, this is definitely going to be a bit of a challenge, but if there’s colouring involved… I’m so up for it.