What's on your mind?

In 2011, my sister gave me the book 'Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world' for Christmas.  I was surprised by one of the first exercises in the book which concentrated on raisins. The exercise encourages you to feel the texture of each raisin, smell it and chew slowly.  By focusing on the raisin our mind is brought to the present moment.

And that really is what mindfulness is - the ability to be fully present and in the moment.  Which sounds simple but can be difficult to achieve with the constant chatter in our minds.

Today there are many resources that can help us to achieve mindfulness with apps like Headspace and podcasts like Meditation Minis.

The practice is encouraged by schools and in the workplace.  "Pause, Breathe, Smile" is a mindfulness course delivered to participating schools in New Zealand.  Companies like Google offer mindfulness courses to employees such as Search Inside Yourself to promote mindfulness-based emotional intelligence practices.  Research shows that the benefits include reduction in anxiety and stress.  

My favourite mindfulness hack is Emma Farron's Mindfulness colouring books.  I find waiting for doctor's appointments stressful and colouring in the waiting room works a charm!

Here's a simple mindfulness exercise to try.  Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take deep breaths and become aware of your breathing.  As thoughts come into your mind, acknowledge them, then let them go.  Then count slowly to 12.  

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