Sometimes, in the middle of the night, or the middle of the day (or the middle of the next sentence) I’ll notice my mind racing way ahead of me – I need to get the washing in, send that email, get the boys stuff ready for pre-school.
I worry about how I’ll sleep tonight, and what tomorrow will be like if we don’t get enough (Who am I kidding? Of course I won’t get enough 😂).
So, what do I do about it?
I remind myself to stay in the moment.
In THIS moment.
“But HOW does one simply stay in this moment, Turia?!! There are OTHER MOMENTS TO ORGANISE?!” I can hear you exasperate through the screen.
Firstly, no need to raise your voice 😂
And secondly, I’ve got you!
I’ve popped some of my favourite tips for practising mindfulness right here.
I think you’ll find them helpful.
- Find something to get lost in
About a year ago, Hakavai was gifted a secondhand box of lego from a friend of a friend. And, he frothed on it. Every morning, for like a solid month (a decade in toddler time), he was playing with his lego.
Initially, I found it annoying.
Have you ever stepped, barefoot, on tiny little lego pieces at 6 am in the morning, before coffee? Have you ever tried to vacuum around little lego pieces? (Don’t kid me, you minx. You sucked ‘em straight up into the vacuum, just like I did, didn’t you?!).
But the lego fascination seemed to be a lasting one, so one morning I sat down with him and tried to build something. But I couldn’t, cos none of the sets were complete. And also, he didn’t really want me to play with “his” lego pieces either. Which suited me fine, cos the next day I drove down to the shops and purchased a shiny new box of lego. The police station set, not anything cool like the Star Wars ones (that stuff is expensive!!).
And that night, the very minute Hakavai fell asleep, I busted out my new lego. A glass of wine at the ready, I relaxed into a world of tiny, intricate construction.
There was something soothing about following someone else’s instructions, and building the pieces block by block. I got to zone out, unwind, and temporarily forget my responsibilities.
That night, I slept not like a baby (they wake up a lot. Very needy to be honest), but like a tiny, plastic policeman – flat on my back, in the same position I dropped down in.
Being mindful doesn’t have to involve crystals and chanting and yoga pants. It’s really about relaxing into the present moment. And when life is feeling all a bit too much, a little present moment time can feel really good.
- Become aware of your surroundings.Here’s a strategy my friend Tess (a social worker) recommended to me a few years ago.
It’s called the 5-4-3-2-1 method (I think. I may have made that up).
Here’s what to do:
a) Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you.
It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings. Take a moment to look at each thing.
b) Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you.
It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under your feet. Actively touch them.
c) Acknowledge THREE things you hear.
Maybe the wind outside, a dog barking down the street, the washing machine whirring. Pause to listen to them.
d) Acknowledge TWO things you can smell.
That might be your coffee, or the bar of soap by the sink. Smell them.
e) Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste.
Maybe your coffee, or toast. What does the inside of your mouth taste like? I often do this exercise whenever I get that paralysed, anxiety panic feeling. You know the one I mean? It helps to ground me in the present and stops my mind bouncing between different anxious thoughts.So, give it a go, right now. For real – don’t think “I’ll try it later”. Stop, put your phone or computer down, and give this a go right now. OK?
Let me know once you’re done. And if you get struck by more panic or anxiety during the day, come back to this exercise.
Any other tips you have for practising mindfulness?
Pop them in the comments!
Thanks Turia, i love your emails x
Hi Turia, this is the first time I’ve jumped across from your insta account to here. I was interested in the strategies you mentioned. I just followed your orders and tried the 5-4-3-2-1 method. It works! It didn’t take long but in that short time it really just made me stop, notice tiny details that we don’t usually appreciate, and it actually made me focus on how I’m feeling right now – tired! Thank you. I will be putting this method to good use from now on! Tina ♥️
When I’m getting too lost in organizing in my head, instead of enjoying my kids in particular. I picture my Pop delighting in just watching my toddler years ago. I remember that if I’m lucky, I too will get to be old and thinking about this moment with my kids. What will I be thinking about? Then I soak up just being in that moment, knowing it’s what’s worth remembering, not the lunchboxes.
The only way to calm my mind is crochet, audiobook & cuppa chai…
OK, so that’s not mindfulness… I did an 8-week MBSR course, & STILL can’t do that mindfulness thing.
My friend calls herself a hummingbird… but hummingbirds – at that very moment of hover – are TOTALLY FOCUSED. OK, so they flit from flower to flower, but that’s focus too.
What am I trying to say? 🤔
I think I just said it…
I can’t manage to keep my mind still, focused, or calm. But I’ll try the things you’ve suggested, because we all need some unfull minds.
I love your vibe. I love how you talk look and think. I love Australia. Have cousins in Perth. I am an anxious person. I worry about a lot. Everyday. I hate it. Which in turn makes me question if I’m any good. I’ve recently lost my Dad. My Mom is gone and brother also. So I’m an orphan. And my daughters are grown and moved out. Have a great spouse who is very understanding. But I’m lonely and bored. Help!