Insouciant bon-vivant and erstwhile troubadour prone to verbose verbiage.
Published October 6th 2015
What is mind? No matter What is matter? Nevermind
Mindfulness is one of the great rebranding exercises of our time: James Squire Golden Ale became "the Chancer", Milk Coffee became a "Cafe Latte", a dick-brained idea became a "Captain's Call" and meditation became "mindfulness".
To some "meditation" conjures up images of a buddhist monk at the top of a Tibetan Mountain who has spent their life attaining Zen. For others it's an androgynous baldie called Moonbeam who smells tangy while constantly referring to his/her inner moon goddess and the evils of fluoridated water.
Either way it's something we 'normals' will shy away from. But "mindfulness", well who wouldn't want to be mindful? I mean it just sounds so bloomin' intelligent doesn't it?
Consider this scenario: I found a quiet corner of my workplace in which to 'take ten' and listen to one of the Headspace Mindfulness App's 10 minute 'lessons'. Suddenly my Managing Director strides past
MD: "Steele, what on earth are you doing sitting there with your eyes closed?" Me: "Just practicing mindfulness" MD: "Ah, excellent Steele. A mindful employee is a productive employee. Come stride the hallways with me and mouth platitudes while I approve your pay rise and the redundancies of your enemies."
MD: "Steele, what on earth are you doing sitting there with your eyes closed?" Me: "Just meditating"
MD: "I see…" (makes mental note to lose the hippy during the next restructure).
As a way to kick off a life more mindful the Headspace Mindfulness App is a free and easy way to do it. It allows the user, at a time and place convenient to them to dip their toe in the waters of Zen. It does so without them having to shave/refrain from shaving various body parts and demands absolutely no off key caterwauling with complete strangers.
Image taken from Headspace website
Even if you've tried meditation… (sorry, mindfulness) but been unable to stick to it (Moonbeam's odours can be dissuasive) then once again the app is a great way to incorporate this ancient practice into a busy routine. Generally 10-15 minutes a day is all you need to find - either side of work or bedtime being a good place to start.
Numerous studies have shown that mediationfulness benefits mental and even physical well-being*, so canny marketing aside, it's worth having a look at. And despite what you may have heard, it's quite easy to do. As Lesson 3 of the app (spoiler alert) will tell you, it's much like sitting on the side of the road watching the traffic. The traffic in this instance are your thoughts - just let them drift by.
The first 10 lessons are free, after that you do need to subscribe to Headspace if you wish to continue. I haven't subscribed yet but found the app was an excellent way firstly to comprehend the concept of mindfulness and secondly to find a ten minute gap in my day to practice it.
- *I have made no attempt to identify any such study but it just sounds true doesn't it?