We are back! And so are schools and routines and after school classes and the constant busyness of life! As a lot of us are now back in some sort of a routine this might be a good time for you to think about how you could include mindfulness in your routine if it is something you have been interested in or are curious about. Even two or three minutes can help set you up for the day.
There are different schools of thought about how long it takes to form a habit. Some say 21 days does it, others say it can take up to a few months, whatever you believe one thing that scientists do know is that every time you do something new it creates a new neural pathway in your brain and then every time you repeat the new thing the pathway becomes stronger and stronger.
Neuroplasticity is the term that is used to describe these changes in the brain. Just knowing that this is something that happens can give us a greater sense of control. Just because we have always done something a certain way doesn’t mean we have to continue doing it that way. It also means that even though you start something and it feels really hard, mindfulness or meditation for example it means it will get easier over time. For me, my mindfulness practice has become a little bit like brushing my teeth, it is something I do in the morning and at night and if I don’t do it it feels a little weird. I have built it into my routine so much so that if it’s not there it feels funny.
Whatever it can take for you to build up the practice and build up the routine of taking time out for yourself to be with yourself and to notice what is happening for you is a good thing. if you are still doubtful and are wondering if it is worth getting up 5 minutes earlier or closting your book or turning off Netflix 10 minutes earlier then usual it has been proven that although mindfulness can take time to practice it can also give us a feeling of having more time. When you take time to slow down and notice how you are feeling, notice your breath and what is happening for you in your body it can help you to feel like you have more time. Three deep breaths, taken in and out slowly every morning or every evening (or both!) can be enough to do that to help you feel calmer, more centred and generally better. Mindfulness has been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety, it helps us have deeper sleep and to generally enjoy life more.
So please don’t start out thinking that 10 minutes is what you have to do, small is better then nothing. As I said above three deep, conscious breaths in the morning is all it has to be and then see where you go!
Mindfulness in Action
Autumn is one of my favourite seasons and I love the sentence ‘the trees are about to show us how beautiful it can be to let things go’ so my next few mindfulness in action activities are going to involve the season! Find a leaf that has fallen from a tree and notice what colour or colours you can see on it. How many colours are there? What is the texture of the leaf like? What type of tree did it fall from? Just notice what you see.