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!