“Being mindful allows you to have more power over your thoughts and emotions which all contribute to your general well-being.” We asked Jody some questions so we can learn more about the practice of being mindful, what it means and what it can do for you.
What does being mindful mean to you?
To me, mindfulness means being present in your life. We spend most of our time stuck worrying about the past and what happened last week, or being anxious about the future – what is going to happen. We forget all about the present moment, which is happening right now, in front of our eyes. We are creating our lives in every moment, whether we’re conscious of it or not, it’s happening. We can become conscious of it, take our power back to create, and begin creating a life we truly want to live, as opposed to a life out of our control.
How did you discover meditation and mindfulness?
About 5 years ago I found myself deep in the Peruvian jungle with an indigenous tribe, working with plant medicine and shamanic healing practices. They taught me how to meditate, and I learned the practice when I was out in raw nature, surrounded by neon dragonflies, the biggest butterflies you’ll ever see and lush, green wilderness. It’s impossible not to be present or mindful out in the jungle – you hear every little noise around you. And no technology or social media distractions, so it’s so easy to get quiet and be present.
If I’m not being mindful currently, how do I get there? + 5 tools to get you started.
Be accepting of the busyness that being in London brings. Accept yourself and where you’re at with mindfulness, being present and meditation. Everyone has to begin somewhere. I’d suggest starting with a 5 – 10 mins practice each morning. A good resource to begin your journey is Mindful.
5 Tips for Being More Mindful:
1) Awareness of breath. Begin to become aware of your breathing. Close your eyes and simply focus on your breathing, in and gently out of your body. Be aware of where you breathe into in your body and focus your attention there. Don’t try and control your breath, just let us flow naturally as it always does. Here’s a great video about how children explain it http://www.mindful.org/kindergarteners-talk-about-mindfulness-in-just-breathe-short-film/
2)Awareness of your body. When we’re aware of our body and bring our attention back to our body, it’s when we’re most present. So start with looking at your hands (without judgment!) and really see them. Feel your hands. Then feel your body, feel the weight of it, it’s heaviness, feel alive, feel yourself again at every opportunity.
3) Mindful listening. Practice really listening to others. When listening, focus all your awareness onto the other person. Hear their words and give them space to be heard and supported. Again this is a practice and we’re generally not great at listening properly to others, so be aware you might try and ‘check out’ or lose focus. Just be aware and bring your awareness back to the listening.
4)Meditation session. Attend a group meditation session to stay focused.
5)Guided meditation app. Headspace is a useful tool to start with, as it guides you step-by-step and supports you at the beginning of your journey.
What are the best ways to remain mindful in this busy city?
Commit to a mindfulness practice. As it’s a practice, it will take regular commitment from you to improve. It’s a daily routine, and not having time for it shouldn’t be an excuse. Book time out in your diary for the practice each day, so you don’t forget.
Recognise that we live in a busy city, and it’s only destined to get busier not slow down. Sadly we can’t all leave town and live in monasteries (although it’d be a great experience!) so we have to work with what we have. Know that when you learn to be mindful in a busy city, you can be mindful anywhere with ease!
What can I hope to achieve in taking time out of my day ( less stressed, more clarity?)
There are lots of benefits to being more mindful. Keeping your awareness in the present, means your mind is relaxed and more at peace, so you feel centered, balanced and more grounded. Your stress levels and anxiety decline, as you worry less about the future and trying to control it. You have that inner reassurance that everything is going to work out, and it begins to feel more like everything is possible, when in fact, it is, the only thing standing in our way is ourselves and our fears and limiting beliefs.