Mindfulness is an often overlooked coping mechanism of anxiety. I know this because it takes practice. And when anxiety is peaking, being mindful takes a back seat because our focus is on the task at hand. Which is usually trying to contain a panic attack or worrying about the next one or fearing the future. We know that we have the capacity to slow down and to look at things and objects and situations through a different perspective but the blocks are just too heavy to move, right? And no matter what advice we read or what someone tells us we should do, we just don’t feel we have the time to really appreciate our surroundings, our situations, our lessons, ourselves! Whilst going through a pretty rough time, I was driving with my daughter. We talked about stories and what she would like to do when she becomes an adult. She goes into detail a lot and has a knack for creating a visual even though there is not yet anything tangible. She’s artistic with her thoughts and her words and has a clear path she wants to follow. I’m so proud of her. We stopped at the traffic lights. The weather was dismal and the road and surrounding houses were nothing out of the ordinary. Appreciation did not enter my thoughts because I was fixated on our destination and, well, who cares about the ordinary buildings on the ordinary street?! Until my daughter spoke. “Grandad would really appreciate the brickwork on that house!” Pointing to a very ‘normal’ two story red brick, half wood panelled abode. I laughed. Until I actually looked. Properly. She was right. A boring brick with no real appeal was actually part of a formation of brickwork that takes skill and creates a warm, cosy shelter for its residents. I mean, sure, we’ve all admired the beauty of architectural design in its grandest form but have we ever noticed the humble, ten-a-penny, red brick? Continuing our conversation my daughter asked me if I have ever narrated my way when doing ordinary, run-of-the-mill, daily tasks. I asked her what she meant. Her answer was this: “You know mum, do you ever think about making your life more interesting by narrating in your mind, in detail? When you walk down the street, instead of thinking to yourself “it’s raining”, you think “the cold, gentle raindrops flow effortlessly from the clouds above and caress my skin as they reach their final destination”. Or how about, instead of thinking “that house is just a house”, you think “that house stands tall regardless of weather and wraps it’s residents in safety””. She made me think. I mean, really think. And made me appreciate that boring brick in an instant. Obviously we don’t have the time to narrate our way through our lives in their entirety, but when we aren’t in a rush, we have the time to create our own beautiful narrative. A wonderful, inspiring way to practice mindfulness taught through the eyes of a child. Wouldn’t you agree? Your mindfulness tasks
Notice 3 things today that are ordinary and make them extraordinary by creating a narrative in your mind
Do this 3 times a week, whilst out for a walk (the perfect opportunity to narrate in nature!), notice the wind in the trees, the sound of the ground under your feet, the freshness of the air, the wildlife. Whilst washing the dishes. Notice the bubbles as they pop, the temperature of the water and how it feels on your hands. Are you standing infront of a window? What is happening outside? Or making the bed. Do the sheets smell nice? Is the bed inviting? Does it make you look forward to going to bed later that night? Do this with any usually mundane task and I promise you will be practicing mindfulness and creating a beautiful day without any effort.
Practice appreciation of what your home offers - warmth, light, safety from the elements, etc and be content in that moment. Grab a cuppa and snuggle up with yourself and be proud of the home you have created.
There is beauty in everything. From the ordinary to the extraordinary. How beautiful you make it in your own mind is up to you!
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There are lots of ways to be mindful and create your own life story from usual daily stuff. You can try it by yourself or there are some props about that can help get you started. How about some mindfulness cards? After such a rubbish year, perhaps set yourself a mindfulness challenge for 2021? If prefer to write things down, a gratitude journal may be a better idea.
Whatever way you choose to embark on creating your own beautiful, mindful narrative, promise yourself that you will make it your priority for 2021. After all, you deserve a beautiful life.
Lotsa love from my warm living room, where I can see the snowflakes gracefully drifting and dancing past my window whilst appreciating the stark contrast of temperature from where I am being loved and protected by the stature of my home, to the cold, icy ground outside!
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