There’s no doubt about it, mindfulness is having a red hot moment in 2017. But if for you, like us, mindfulness conjures up images of meditating on a hill, Sidhartha style, you’ve probably put it in the too-hard basket along with clean eating and keeping your plants alive.
When it comes to the latest buzzword to clog your social feeds, you’re not alone. Modern day life has people turning to mindfulness in droves, and it turns out there may just be something (read: a lot) to this mindful trend. For answers to all of our questions, we turned to Paul von Burgen, owner of Sydney’s Billabong Retreat, to find out exactly what this mindfulness stuff is all about.
So take a deep breath guys, we’re gonna get real mindful for a minute.
WTF Is Mindfulness?
In a nutshell, mindfulness is about paying attention. And no, we don’t mean looking both ways when you cross the road, although that’s probably helpful when it comes to keeping yourself alive.
Mindfulness is about training yourself to notice your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations as they happen, and trying to not take them too personally.
It’s about taking a moment to connect with your most heartfelt desires, truest values and wishes for your life. Essentially, you’re learning to prioritise what’s best for your heart and mind, setting the best direction for your life, and then making sure your actions match up. Got it? Great.
Who Should Do It?
You guessed it, anyone and everyone, but there’s a catch. Mindfulness is only going to benefit you if you commit to regular practice, and if you truly believe that you can improve your reality as a result.
Give It A Go
OK, so you’ve decided to give being mindful a whirl, and are ready to give your heart and mind a good ol’ listening to, what now? Well in your first week Paul suggests setting a simple intention to do a daily, personal practice—think morning yoga or meditation—for at least seven minutes each day. Now guys, seven minutes, you totally got this.
Think It Still Sounds Like A Lot Of Work?
Think again my lazy friend. If setting the intention for seven minutes a day feels like you’re setting yourself up for failure, don’t beat yourself up before you’ve even begun!
Your formal daily practice can be backed up and further enhanced by sprinkling moments of mindfulness throughout your day—think of it like salt bae following you around, sprinkling that shit errrrywhere.
Mindfully walk up stairs, eat lunch, chat with your work wife or notice how you are feeling at different times during the day. If you’re an angry walker as you trump through the CBD on your break, use old mate in front as your chance to stop and breathe slowly, trust us he isn’t getting out of your way anytime soon.
You’ll be surprised just how much more you notice about your thoughts, sensations and feelings, and how they in turn influence your day.
When Should You Expect To See A Difference?
Firstly, you shouldn’t expect anything. Expectations lead to craving and disappointment, which in turn lead to unhappiness and suffering, ‘nuff said. Instead, you should focus your attention on those intentions we mentioned above; and being kind to yourself even when you don’t manage to practice, because the best part about mindfulness is there’s always tomorrow.
Essentially you’re building a habit, so remind yourself what you intend to do. Eventually you’ll remember once or twice a week, before it snowballs and in the months that follow you’ll notice your thought patterns changing.
Keen? Get Reading!
While it’s ideal to learn mindfulness in a specialist environment, like Billabong Retreat, so you can ask all of the questions (guilty), you can check out their mindfulness blog here and grab yourself some top reads by Jon Kabbatt Zinn or Eckhart Toll to get you started.
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