Mindfulness – In a Multitasking World?

We are living in an ever increasingly busy world, multitasking physically and mentally and often moving from one thing to another without a moments peace.

Everybody seems to be telling us we should be adding yet another task or ritual to our schedule and carve out some time for ‘mindfulness’. But is it worth it? Mindfulness in its most simplistic definition is to be in an active, open state of mind giving attention to the present. It is observing your thoughts and feelings from a distance without judging or worrying about them and simply letting those thoughts pass by, whilst living in the moment.

So why should we do it?

There is scholarly evidence that tells us that by practicing mindfulness meditation regularly, we can improve our mental health, emotional intelligence, ability to respond to stress and anxiety and interpersonal skills. Evidence indicates (geeky science bit alert!) that mindfulness meditators develop the skill of self observation that neurologically disengages automatic pathways created from prior learning and enables present moment input to be integrated in a new way. Basically allowing us to rewire the way we think from negative to more positive.

I personally find it very tricky to switch off the thoughts in my head, often lying awake at night fighting to find quietness of mind. Over the years this has led to bouts of insomnia and anxiety.

I’m definitely guilty of being a ‘bedtime procrastinator’. I typically head to bed around 10pm, but although I’m in bed I don’t drift off for another few hours. Sometimes it is because I’ve got ideas running around in my head, other times I’m planning, other times I just can’t switch off and I’m aimlessly scrolling through my phone.

A year or so ago, I downloaded an app called ‘Head Space’ which promised to offer simple guided meditation, and the best thing about it was that it would only take 10 minutes a day. I calculated that I could easily find 10 minutes each day – I probably spent three times longer than that absentmindedly meandering social media.

I decided to choose the ‘sleep meditation’ course – an exercise that helps to address any unresolved thoughts from the day and relax you enough to drop off to sleep.

As I started using the app, I tried to listen to the guidance and not actively analyze everything that “Andy” (Andy Puddicombe – meditation and mindfulness expert and narrator of everything Head Space) was saying. My mind did wander initially and my focus would waiver, but Andy was there in my ears reassuring me that it’s natural for my thoughts to be interrupted, and he helped me to refocus on the ‘now’.

Having completed the ‘sleep meditations’ course and having seen a drastic improvement in my sleeping patterns (usually dropping off before the end of each session!) I decided to subscribe to the app and now set aside 10 minutes each day (usually when Frankie is napping) to follow various themed mindfulness drills. I’ve found that by setting a reminder in my phone every day to practice, and actually treating it with the same priority I would a business meeting, I have managed to stick to regular commitment.

I’m not claiming that I am now oozing zenned out calm, but I absolutely can see that for me personally, it keeps anxiety and procrastination at bay – especially at bedtime.

The next steps for me are to explore some micro-mindfulness techniques where triggers are used as reminders to ‘be in the moment’ like when drinking a cup of tea, or first thing in the morning.

If you’d like to give Head Space a go, there is a free 10 day trial, and then after that an annual subscription.

Take a look at some of these free resources which are a great starting point, or check out our ‘Mindfulness’ board on Pinterest for some additional inspiration.

Have you tried to meditate or practice mindfulness? Do you find it realistic to practice everyday whilst juggling everything else? What techniques do you use to make sure you dedicate time to practice?

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We’re two Mums who are getting through motherhood one day at a time whilst enjoying Yoga and other ‘me time’ activities. We don’t profess to be experts in Yoga, Pilates, exercise, meditation, the human anatomy or medicine and we’re certainly not experts in parenting. We are simply sharing our experience and opinions and occasionally those of people who’s advice we value, and we’ll always reference them. If you’re unsure of starting any new exercise or practice, please consult your GP. And if you’re unsure of purchasing any products we suggest, please consult your bank balance!