Mindfulness is the new black. It is an effective mental training, originating from the 2,000-year-old Buddhist practices and adapted to suit non-religious contexts, including the work place, parenting, healthcare and schools.
I came to mindfulness meditation as a stressed out doctor and it took a while before I was sold on it. For someone who thrived on being active, it was almost intolerable to sit still. I remember falling asleep from boredom and experiencing the most profound agitation as though an unstoppable army of ants was crawling under my skin.
Many years later, meditation has become an integral part of my life. It supports me in remembering to pause, catch my breath and re-focus, and it brings clarity when there are important decisions to make. It also gives me mental space for new ideas to emerge.
Three years ago, whilst I was meditating, I had an idea to harness the power of technology and create a global online meditation campaign to teach people how to meditate and raise money to build clean water wells in developing countries. Since then, it has inspired thousands of people from around the world to learn how to master their minds and make a huge difference through getting sponsored to raise funds to help the one in nine people on the planet gain access to one of life’s most basic needs – clean water.
Mindfulness is a simple, yet challenging, discipline of noticing what you are doing as you are doing it with an open, curious and non-judgmental stance. It’s about developing more self-awareness and presence, appreciating your moments more and developing more capacity to respond consciously rather than react compulsively in everyday life.
Here are four ways you can start to bring more mindfulness into your day.
1. Tune in to the breath
It may sound like an irritating cliche, but there is scientific rationale for this advice. The breath is not only a powerful indicator of your state of mind but it also powerfully impacts your emotions.