Accidental Mindfulness

I’m a firm believer that less is more.

And sometimes, lets face it, despite all our best intentions to create new wellbeing habits, adding in new practices and getting them to stick can be hit or miss. Our new wellness rituals can even feel like more pressure added to an already stressful or busy life.

That’s why accidental mindfulness really works for me to naturally manage my stress and anxiety.

In the wellness world, mindfulness is all the rage and there’s a plethora of apps and courses you can sign up for. While some of them are brilliant, I’m not going to be doing a review of any of those or tell you what to download. I’m more interested in what happens in the little moments day to day.

It just happened to me outside, literally 5 minutes ago. I found myself patting my dog Piri who was sunbathing in the middle of the tomato patch. The sun was baking down on his fur, his whole body was warm and time seemed to stop or at least slow down in that moment.

All of the sudden I’d forgotten why I went outside. My to-do list was paused. My non-stop internal monologue got a break. And all of a sudden I noticed my surroundings. I mean REALLY noticed.

Prior to that moment, I was in work-mode. Some of you may be familiar with the ever-present work-mode. This is my default, as a recovering workaholic. Even though I’d just been tying up tomatoes in the garden, which could have been an accidentally mindful activity, as far as my brain was concerned I was merely ticking the boxes of my to-do list.

  • Eat breakfast = tick

  • Do social post = tick

  • Attend zoom lecture = tick

  • Tie up tomatoes = tick

Patting my dog wasn’t part of my to-do list, and it immediately pulled me into the physical experience, into the present moment.

All of a sudden I could hear the cicadas screeching all around, I could feel the warmth of the sun on my own skin, and smell the unmistakable tomato plant scent. I connected with how happy Piri was and I was happy for him. I sat for a moment right there just soaking it all up, being with my dog, and reconnecting with my senses.

These moments are powerful for interrupting the sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight or flight response, which we can unconsciously find ourselves in when we are in moments of busyness, work or otherwise. Engaging with the senses is a great way to reduce anxiety and instil a sense of physical solidity and calmness.

So you see what I mean, that it’s not about adding in any special programme.

Its simpler than that, and we all have the tools to be able to do it right now. It’s about remembering to pause and step into the moment to inhabit it fully, to feel alive, to remember the goodness of life in any given moment.

When could you remember to do that?

Here are a few ideas, but you will definitely find your own:

  • patting an animal

  • walking barefoot on the grass/sand

  • eating something really yummy

  • sunbathing at the beach

  • cuddling a child

  • lying on your back on the ground (anywhere)

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