Hello! Welcome to May.
Yes really, it's May.
The official Mindful in May meditation challenge is not being held this year which is shame. We had a lot of fun last year and I really expanded my understanding of mindfulness and my mindful meditation repertoire.
So this May I'm turning my attention to mindfulness regardless because you know what? Mindfulness (defined as a moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience without judgement) is a brilliant way to reduce stress. It really is. Have you tried it?
And there are some people close to me who are at maximum stress right now.
And stress is contagious.
So this is what I'll be doing this month to chill out and de-stress.
1. Mindful moments. This is the simplest and easiest approach to reducing stress and reaping the benefits of mindfulness (including reduced anxiety and improved focus and concentration).
I make sure that a few times a day I just focus on my breathing for thirty seconds or so. This can be done in the car, over a coffee, while at my desk or in bed at night. Don't think, don't judge, just observe your breath going in and out of your body.
I also try mindful observation a few times a day, particularly while outside. Watch the clouds pass overhead, notice the colours in the trees, feel the ground beneath you as you walk. That's all it takes.
2. Mindfulness meditation. Up until recently I have used guided meditations. Not often as my formal efforts at meditation have been a bit lax (this is one of my big goals for May) but I really enjoyed the guided meditations that were provided during the Mindful in May challenge last year, particularly because they exposed me to a number of different types of meditation that I'd not heard about before. I discovered that you can listen to the sounds around you when you meditate and that Loving Kindness meditation is designed to help you develop the mental habit of selfless or altruistic love.
This month I'm focusing on using relaxing music for meditation. You know the type of music that they play in the background at day spas? That. Once (not so long ago) I would have scoffed at the idea but then I tried it - and it worked! Rainforest sounds for the win.
3. Yin yoga. This is another recent discovery and after an evening class a week or so ago I just about melted out the door. All yoga is mindful but Yin yoga is particularly so because the poses largely use your body weight to slowly and gently stretch and relax the muscles and connective tissue. You hold the poses for longer periods than traditional yoga and you really need to calm the mind right down in order to both reap the benefits and prevent your brain from yelling, 'Stop it! It hurts'
It's great, really.
Finally, I'll be writing about mindfulness all month. I'm working on a couple of Mindful Eating collaborations which I'll tell you about later in May. I'll also share some great mindfulness resources and I'm going to research and write about kids and mindfulness because it's something I'd really like to teach my kids and maybe you'd like to too?
Would you like to be mindful in May with me? Come along. Tell me your plans.