MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION
Welcome to number two of the Good Mornings Guide. This month we are looking at Mindfulness and Meditation. These are two great ways to improve your mornings by bringing you back into the present, but also focusing on where you are and how you feel. We introduced meditation into our morning routines when we started to feel a little flustered in the morning, or just a little out of sync. We find that spending a few minutes every morning can add hours of value to the rest of our day. As always, take things slow - remember what works for one doesn’t work for anyone and we are here on instagram and our email if you need anything.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
We hear the term mindfulness quite a lot. It can be attached to various sentiments and activities. But it’s (near over)use can sometimes be misconstrued or passed over due to people’s perceptions rather than knowledge. A definition for mindfulness ‘a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations’ shows that the root of mindfulness is being present. Whilst this sounds easy, in an ever evolving and rushing world, it’s incredibly difficult to remain present in every moment, much less being able to acknowledge and evaluate your feelings. Mindfulness is a way to recalibrate yourself to make sure you are fully present and listening to your true self.
WHAT IS MEDITATION?
Meditation has had a strange journey in cultural references and perception. A lot of the time meditation conjures up images of cross legged individuals and has often been discarded as hippy or new age. Meditation is purely and simply the act of giving your attention to only one thing. How you chose to give your attention and what you chose to give your attention to is completely your prerogative.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
Truly, the two things go hand in hand. Most likely if you are practicing mindfulness, you are also meditating; focusing on the present moment is in essence focusing on just one thing. However they are more complimentary than one and the same. Mindfulness supports meditation by making you aware of both the present moment and your current feelings, expanding on your chosen avenue of meditation. Whilst meditation is a broad spectrum, the most common and universally acknowledged thing that meditation focuses on is a clear mind. Most meditative practices focus on clearing the mind and focusing on simply breathing; emptying the rest of our thoughts. Meditation is usually practiced intentionally, at a specific time for a specific purpose. It tends to be the awareness of no thing, whereas mindfulness is the awareness of some thing.
WHY IS IT HELPFUL IN THE MORNING?
As with other aspects of your morning routine, practicing mindfulness and/or meditation in the morning helps to set your tone for the day. By making yourself present and focusing on yourself for even a few minutes in the morning; you can bring yourself into focus for the rest of the day.
HOW DO YOU INTRODUCE MINDFULNESS TO YOUR MORNING?
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a large chunk of your morning. The best way to introduce it, is to simply be as present as possible and really pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. You can do this when you wake up, pay attention to the fact that you have been blessed with a new morning, feel in the present and listen to your body and your brain to help determine exactly how you are feeling in that moment.
HOW DO YOU INTRODUCE MEDITATION TO YOUR MORNING?
Some people are happy to jump right in with their own form of meditation (remember, focusing on one thing is the purest form of meditation); but you may find it easier to undertake guided meditation for the first few instances. There are some incredible resources available including free guides from headspace, calm, breathe, happy not perfect or simply on YouTube.
DO YOU HAVE TO DO BOTH? IS ONE BETTER THAN THE OTHER?
Everyone is different. Some people believe that meditation is a mirror of mindfulness, and that one goes with the other. Other people want to do a set guided meditation every day. Put simply, the best way to find out what is best for you is trial and error. Mindfulness, and awareness of the present moment is something that can be practised with no set environment, and we have found that through practicing mindfulness throughout the day, our brains and thoughts are calm enough to sit for about five minutes in the morning to really focus on our breathing and clear our thoughts. If you find your brain spinning in the morning, I would recommend guided meditation for a few days to support you while you learn to calm your thoughts and wake up clear and present for the rest of the day.