I’m not going to lie, I’m finding my ‘10 days to a more mindful me‘ mindfulness journey quite hard.
I think it’s because I’m so impatient – I want instant calmness to prove I’m making progress instead of admitting that it might take all of 10 days (and probably a lot longer) to see some lasting results!
Impatience is something I struggle with in many areas of my life. For example, if I jet off on holiday for a week I need to know which sights are the must-sees, which restaurants are the top-recommended and the best ways and days to visit each of them, so I don’t miss anything out. Ask me to wander around a city just to take in the views and see what sights I ‘come across’ and you’re likely to face some pretty stubborn resistance!
But then, I guess that’s also why I’m not giving up on mindfulness. I don’t like being impatient, I want to learn to take in the present moment instead of jumping straight ahead to the next one. And, although I’m by no means a model of tranquillity and calm yet, I am encouraged that each day of my mindfulness journey so far has brought with it snippets of improvement, and what I’ve decided to call ‘mental gain’.
So, here’s an update on days 2-5 of my 10 days to a more mindful me journey. You can read about day one in Thursday’s post – ‘Losing my train of thought’.
Day 2 – noticing sounds and smells: Despite my practise being very nearly thwarted by technology (I forgot to pre-download day 2 of my mindfulness app guide!), I notice how much more quickly I’m able to settle into today’s session. I’m easily able to keep the deep breathing going and manage to notice my focus has drifted before my app guide reminds me that might be the case. A few sounds and smells also creep into focus from around me – paper rustling and liquorice are the most noticeable (but don’t ask me where they’re coming from or why!)
Day 3 – a state of sleepy relaxation: Today’s mindfulness app analogy is about sitting on the side of the road, watching cars go by. The cars represent thoughts and the idea is to just watch them, not chase them or try and interrupt the flow of traffic in any way. As always, my mind wanders off during the meditation; to continue with the transport metaphors, it’s hard not to jump on a train of thought! But I’m reminded to pull my attention back to my body and focus on the present. After the session, I do feel pretty relaxed – although I’m wondering if that may also have a little bit to do with a lack of sleep from the night before!
Day 4 – not so tense after all: Usually, when I arrive at the part in my practise where I mentally scan down my body to see how it feels that day, I only notice areas of tension. Today, I’m pleased to notice areas of lightness as well. My shoulders aren’t so tight, I’m not gripping one hand with the other, I’m simply feeling the benefits of breathing deeply and learning to relax. My mind still wanders off though…I think I definitely need more practise!
Day 5 – getting to grips with the basics: Today feels like a bit more of a chore. I’m tired, I want to get on with the day, and I just don’t ‘feel like’ taking 10 minutes out to practise mindfulness when I’m not seeing those ‘instant’ results. I still switch on my app guide though and complete my practise as planned. I really have to concentrate to keep myself from forgetting about deep breathing or thinking about the day ahead, and it’s today that I realise I’m really still getting to grips with the basics of mindfulness. I might want to stride ahead, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the idea. Taking small steps in my journey should help to cement the basics of mindfulness into place, so they’ll come more naturally to me as I practise it in future. I sit back, and look forward to seeing what days 6-10 bring!
If you’re interested in joining me on my 10 days to a more mindful me journey, I’m using the free Headspace app to get me started.