Today was incredibly busy; meeting my placement volunteer in Falkirk at 09:30, training new volunteers from 10:00 until 13:00, driving home to Cumbernauld to take Kermit for a walk, and then heading to Alloa to open the recovery café, where I will be staying until 21:00. I will be facilitating a SMART Recovery meeting at 19:00, which all adds up to today being an incredibly busy day and the perfect opportunity to try out a simple mindfulness tool.
I am not a devotee of mindfulness; I don’t hold it to be the answers to all of our ills, and in my experience a lot of the proponents of mindfulness who I come in contact with don’t appear to be applying the concepts of mindfulness correctly. I would qualify this by stating I would definitely not be an expert, and I 100% wouldn’t characterize myself as someone who is able to correctly apply the principles of mindfulness on a daily basis. I have enough awareness to say this in full confidence! That isn’t to say I don’t meditate and don’t practice mindfulness, because I do, sometimes. And sometimes it helps.
I found the technique ‘Mindfulness for Busy People’ on the Get Self Help website and I thought I would give this a try as its description is perfect for my situation today. Today I feel I am attempting to keep too many balls in the air, and this has the potential to spill over familiar feelings regarding being overwhelmed or my ability to cope. In order to address this, and hopefully allow myself to feel calmer and more resourceful, I will use the NOW tool.
As you can see, the tool seems pretty straight forward with some simple instructions.
- For my activity, I chose to eat a bowl of cereal (a mixture of bran flakes, crunchy nut cornflakes and sugar free red fruit muesli)
- I attempted to be in the moment, and really concentrated on what it is was like to eat my cereal; what could I hear, how did it feel, and what did it smell like? I have never sniffed my cereal before, I could smell the milk, and the fruit, and I could hear what my chewing sounded like from the inside. Well, kind of, I could hear chewing, and smell eating.
- I began to drift, and thought about some exchanges I had earlier in the day with colleagues, while at the same time noticing how colourful the cereal looked. The colour of the red fruit really stood out against the milk.
- I noticed that I was eating more slowly; I normally wolf my cereal down but it was noticeable to me that I was taking longer with my food than I might otherwise.
If I am evaluating how the simple mindfulness tool worked I have to say I am unsure really what impact it had on me, although I can say for certain that I probably enjoyed my cereal more than I normally would, and for the two minutes I was being mindful (actually three minutes, the time passed quickly and I never noticed) I didn’t notice any thoughts which might be stressful or anxiety provoking, so for those three minutes, I was calm.