Mastering the Art of Mindfulness
Mindfulness has become a top selling brand. Books and apps on the concept of being ‘in the present’ instead of ‘in doing’ mode are everywhere. Now we can even buy ‘Mindful Colouring In’ books for adults ‘that lead busy lives’. Spotting one of these in my local supermarket the other day made me think isn’t this just a wee bit patronising? For adults who lead such ‘busy lives’, is this really going to be a good use of their precious time?
In our busy and stressful lives we might be tempted to opt for a quick fix for mindfulness. But when the creativity is already done for you, will colouring in tons of drawings that someone else produced make you mindful enough to stimulate your own creative thoughts. As for calming you down, being restricted by having to keep within all those lines, you’re more likely to blow a gasket when you accidently colour over them.
It’s been well documented that investing in a little time to learn some meaningful mindfulness techniques and, pardon the pun; drawing from your own experience can create calm and focus in your life and this is why many companies, schools and universities are currently investing in mindfulness to help combat stress and anxiety.
Those of us who have already incorporated Mindfulness into our lives have learned to better manage our ‘monkey minds’ and understand how re-living the past or pre-living the future can perhaps trigger unhappy memories, negative self talk and judgmental ways of thinking. Mindfulness helps us to stop and reflect for a moment, notice what we are thinking, let those thoughts pass and consequently hopefully have more control over what happens next.
We get so much more out of our daily life when we can relax and focus on being in the present and really see, hear, touch and feel the experience. Connecting with the taste and texture of food that’s on your plate as you eat, or with the colours and sounds of nature as you take a walk can help you feel calmer and create some space in your head for more positive and creative thoughts that in turn allow you to feel more in control of your day.
In their excellent book Mindfulness – a practical guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World, Mark Williams and Danny Penman talk about how mindfulness helps you to reach a stage of pure awareness- being unclouded by our thoughts and liken it to being on a high mountain- a vantage point from which you can see everything for many miles around. This can be a powerful image to work with and this way of creating space for oneself has many benefits to supporting a sense of wellbeing.
In coaching, Mindfulness practice can help bring quality thinking to a coaching relationship and underpins good coaching practice where coaching is non-directive, collaborative and co-creative. Working from the basis that the client is their own expert, a coach normally works equally alongside a client to help them tap into their own potential, be themselves and find a way to make changes in their lives. The purpose of Coaching is often regarded as a process for goal setting and being action focussed. Often, before a plan of action can be agreed, a client may benefit from mindfulness techniques to learn how to become grounded and centred and explore and reflect in order to make a genuine connection to their goals.
We have listed some of our favourite Mindfulness exercises on this website but if you have any Mindfulness tips you would like to share we would love to hear from you.