Unlocking the Power of Mindfulness
There's a memorable morning when my hyperactive Siamese cat, Peanut, interrupted my morning meditation ritual. Remember those funny YouTube videos where a cat just triumphantly sits on an owner’s face or laps, demanding attention? Well, that was my morning. Peanut, decided that the quiet time was the perfect time to go full-on 'Sunday morning kitten' mode on me.
At the same time, Rover, my loyal Border Collie, was continually barking at some unseen entity in the backyard. But instead of feeling the usual stress, I found the situation mildly amusing. Why? One word. Mindfulness. Let me tell you, it is much more extraordinary than it sounds. In its simplest form, mindfulness means being entirely present in the moment. It's about observing our thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad.
Mindfulness is not only about reducing stress but also about boosting our mental performance significantly. For example, you can practice mindfulness while you are washing dishes or taking a shower and simply focus on the sensuality of the experience. Feel the soap bubbles bursting against your skin, or the water cascading in rivulets down your body. Focus on these sensations, and the present moment will fully engage you. It sounds lovely, doesn't it?
Research studies have shown that mindfulness can actually change the structures of our brains by increasing the density of gray matter. This increases our brain's 'brainness' capacity, or in simpler terms, it enhances our mind's ability to think, concentrate, and make decisions. So, in a way, being more mindful makes you smarter – and who wouldn't love that!
Finding Harmony with Yoga
Right then, around five years back, I was spiraling into a stressful whirlpool. With my kids, Fredrick and Elodie, starting school, the mother in me was juggling between being the next Master Chef and the most patient tutor. That's when I discovered yoga. It changed my life – truly and genuinely.
Yoga is not just about getting your body in mind-boggling poses. It's about addressing your mind and soul as it does your body. Yoga is an ancient science that embarks on a holistic journey towards total well-being. It helps ease out the physical and mental knots, paving the way for a relaxed, peaceful state of mind.
I can vouch for the series of health benefits yoga can bring – increased flexibility, improved heart health, better sleep and focus, just to name a few. But most importantly, it empowered me to develop an inner eye. With regular yoga practice, I was able to navigate through the chaos of life with a more centered approach. Striking a balance between personal and professional life became easier, letting me experience fulfillment in every sphere of life.
Yoga says – relax, nothing is in control. The more you try to control, the lesser you will succeed. Instead, sit back, take a deep breath and simply let it be. No wonder, feeling out of control became a thing of the past!
Soaking in Solitude: The Magic of Quiet Time
One afternoon, as I was working on a deadline and both my kids were contesting on who could scream the loudest (and no, it was not a singing competition), I just decided to lock myself into the bathroom to catch a few minutes of much-needed solitude. And that's when I found the magic of incorporating 'quiet time' into my daily routine.
Quiet time is not about forcing everyone around you into silence. That’s a no show when you have energetic kids, believe me. It is more about creating a small slot of seclusion, filled with silence and introspection. During this time, you can read your favorite book, meditate, take a walk, or simply sit around doing nothing — it's up to you. The idea is to 'just be' without allowing any tasks or errands to preoccupy you. Don't we all deserve this timeout from our hectic days?
This ‘time investment’ soon started to pay off. My ‘quite time’ uplifted my mood and improved my concentration, made me more productive, and more at peace with myself. And most importantly, it made me look forward to my day, regardless of any stressful situations that might come my way.
Embracing the Power of Positive Psychology
Amidst the perpetual busyness of life, it’s easy to lose sight of the present moment. The studies on Positive Psychology focus on what makes life meaningfully worth-living. It's about cultivating gratitude, nurturing our strengths, and savouring life's small moments. In simple terms, it's about focusing on positivity.
Incorporating elements of positive psychology into my daily routine, like a simple habit of writing down three things for which I am grateful each day, has augmented my overall well-being. It enhances my perspective towards appreciating what I already have than chasing what I lack.
I also make it a point to involve my kids, Fredrick and Elodie, in this practice. Now, our dinner table conversations rotate around recalling the happiest moment of the day. This little tradition has helped us cultivate the habit of looking at life with a positive lens, making us all feel incredibly happier and more content.
A relaxed mind leads to improved cognitive function, sharper focus, better decision-making, and ultimately, enhanced productivity. So, in conclusion, relaxation techniques enable us to perform more effectively and efficiently, leading a more balanced life. All it requires is a bit of patience, discipline, and above all, a commitment to ourselves.