Stressed out? Try mindfulness – Part 1

More than 35 years ago, I was taught a simple meditation routine. I did not then or now completely understand the mechanics of the routine, but I did it daily for a year or so. Looking back, I wonder why I stopped as it was simple, didn’t take long (18 minutes) and really worked to “bring me back to centre,” as it was described to me. I still cannot explain that term but because the routine is so simple and the success is astounding, I accept and use the term.

For the past 15 years, I have done my version of “mindfulness” on a daily basis. I require myself to set aside 30 minutes per day for this routine. In those years, I have probably only missed 20 or 30 days and on every one of those days I realized that I had missed something important and also essential to my well-being. I make an effort to do this around midday, but when things are happening I get it done as late as supper time.

Some days are not as fruitful as others, but there is never a day when after my half hour I do not feel better than I did before the half hour. At my current age (75), I am totally worn out by late afternoon, but this routine gives me energy to do what I need to do. I am the cook at our house, so there are some expectations.

My routine is simple, but I continually accept that I want to do this every day and my reason for that is the success I have realized. I want the space to be warm, so I do it near the garage, or cabin wood-stove, or under the summer sun. I lie down on my back, in a Canadian Tire “Zero Gravity” chair, on the floor, at the Canada Games Centre track on a mat with feet and lower legs elevated on a bench, or with my feet on a couch at home. If you experiment, you’ll find some good positions.

I just lie down, thinking about relaxing and I practice deep breathing. Breathe in for five or six seconds, hold that for five or six seconds, then release it over a number of seconds. You can also try sitting or standing but this is easier to start.

Please remember that you cannot do this wrong, you can only do it better. Don’t quit out of frustration as this is very easy and it works.

There are a number of breathing techniques that will help you focus but just let your thoughts go where they want to start out with. Google “mindfulness” and you may be surprised how much free information is available to help you give this a try. Of course there are also a myriad of offers for programs and ideas that you have to sign up and pay for.

Stressed out? Try mindfulness – Part 2

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