How to quiet the mind and engage the senses with mindful practice
Feeling distracted? Too many thoughts floating around in your head?
Try this quick mindful practice called “Engaging your senses” guaranteed to get you out of your busy head and into your body and heart.
Did you know we have over 80,000 thoughts a day? Crazy hey? Especially when so many of them have a slightly negative feel, for example worrying, regretting, wishing things were different to how they actually are for you right now. Not to mention our inner critic and how many thoughts they give us a day! No wonder we feel stressed and distracted so often.
Fleur Chambers is the Founder of Harvesting Happiness and is kindly sharing how to quiet your mind and engage your senses.
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Written by Fleur Chambers - Founder of Harvesting Happiness.
Take a moment now to consider your thoughts. Do you have a tendency to focus on the past, worrying about previous parenting decisions, replaying a conversation over and over in your mind or wondering how it could have played out differently?
Do you spend most of your time planning the logistics of the week ahead, focusing on the small details, kids pick-ups, drop offs, lunches, dinners, sleeps, play-dates, wondering how you are going to fit it all in? Don’t even get me started on costumes!
Maybe you spend your time daydreaming about your past when life was less demanding, when you felt more like you. Or do you like to fantasize about the week end ahead or a holiday?
Whilst there is no doubt that as a mother thinking is necessary and often helpful. Let’s face it, our families couldn’t operate without a lot of thought. But if we get too caught up in our heads, it can make us distracted and take us out of the present moment. No doubt with the popularity of mindfulness at the moment, you have heard something about the present moment holding the key to happiness and well-being?
From my experience, as a mother of three boys and a Melbourne based mindfulness and meditation teacher, the quickest way to get out of your busy mind and into the present moment is to engage your senses.
Spending time activating your experiences of sight, sound, touch, smell and taste immediately brings you into your body, heart and the present moment.
You can do this on your own, or with your kids. In fact, if you are feeling distracted as a mother, engaging your senses is a super quick way to get you into the parenting zone and present for your kids.
So why not give these suggestions for activating your senses a go and see if they get you out of your head, and into your body and your heart as you undertake your biggest job ever, raising your children! Extra points if you can enjoy a few deep breaths at the same time, to really let the experience sink in.
Happy sensing Melbourne mums!
Pay real attention to your children’s faces, noticing the tiny details, how their faces change when they talk, laugh, sleep or even cry. Look closely at their eyes, do you see more than one colour? Do you notice any shades, shapes or patterns? Pay attention to the way their bodies move when they crawl, walk, skip or run.
Take in your surroundings, noticing not only colours and shapes, but shades, contrasts even textures. Notice the details of things up close, and of objects way off in the distance.
If you can, smell the top of your children’s heads (maybe not if they are a sweaty teenager!). When you cook or prepare food, can you really pay attention to the way different fruits, vegetables, herbs and meals smell. If you're outside, can you smell the breeze, the grass, or the scent of a flower? Take a few moment to let these smells sink in.
So often we eat on the run or whilst doing something else. Can you enjoy a mindful eating experience? It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. You could just really enjoy an apple, noticing the taste, texture, temperature. Can you enjoy a cup of tea or coffee mindfully, feeling the warmth of the cup in your hand, noticing the feel of your lips as they touch the mug, feel the liquid as it enters your mouth and moves down your throat? How does it feel to be present and to savour these small activities?
When you are lucky enough to hug your children or hold their hand in yours, notice the touch of their soft skin, the warmth of their body as it touches yours. How does it feel in your heart when you enjoy the intimacy of your children’s touch? Do you notice the touch of your own breath, the way it feels when it enters your nose, the way it feels when it leaves your mouth? Does it feel warm or cool?
When you interact with your kids or listen to them play, can you notice the sound of their laughter, the pitch of their voice, the way it alters with different emotions and expressions? When you are out and about, pay particular attention to the sounds in your environment, the traffic, passing conversations, birds, the breeze. What is the most distant sounds you can hear? What is the closest sound? Are you making any sounds, perhaps you can hear the sound of your own breath. Stay with this experience of sound for an extra moment. Can you notice the moments of silence between sounds?
Whilst engaging your senses can immediately get you out of your busy head and into the present moment, the practice becomes more powerful the more you do it. So give it a go, be curious and see if you can sustain your focus on a particular sense or experience a little longer than usual, perhaps for 4 or 5 breaths.
If you are interested in cultivating more calm, presence, joy and ease in your life as a mother, log onto Harvesting Happiness for lots of free resources and course info to help you on your mindful way.
Our next Mindfulness for Mothers course begins in July. I would love to see you there!
ABOUT HARVESTING HAPPINESS
Provides opportunities for mothers, kids and community members to cultivate greater calm, connection and compassion in their daily lives. We have a variety of FREE guided meditations written especially for mothers, kids and communities, and also run face-to-face and online mindfulness for mothers courses and events.
For more ideas and support in leading a more mindful life as a mother, why not attend the Mindfulness for Mums 4 week course, beginning Tuesday 17th July. It's designed for busy mums to feel more calm, connected and compassionate.
Business owner: Fleur Chambers
Fav café: Sunflower in Elwood.
Coffee order: Hot almond cap.