22 Nov, 2021
With Marisa Garau
While mindfulness meditation is incredibly popular, most of us will agree that setting aside an hour per day to sit quietly on a meditation cushion would stretch our tight time schedules too far… probably causing more stress than relieving it. After years of meditating I began to uncover that meditation is not a must if we’d like to benefit from the inner peace that practicing mindfulness creates.
After I had followed various mindfulness training programmes I meditated for years, both in a group here in Mangawhai and by myself at home. I also wrote several internationally published books on mindfulness. But while I enjoyed meditating, I started to receive emails from readers who complained that meditation took too much time out of their already overloaded days. And so they gave up… quickly finding themselves just as stressed as they had been before they’d embarked on their mindfulness journey. I could totally understand their issue. If you have a demanding job, a family to care for, and a busy social life, it’s practically impossible to block out an hour every day for yourself.
I also found myself less and less enticed by the mindfulness meditations. Instead, I noticed that I had started to develop a new, down-to-earth approach to mindfulness: be-mindful-in-everything-you-do. I discovered that simply practising mindfulness in everything I was doing during the day effectively prevented stress and frustration from building up. And so I developed my e-programme to help my readers make mindfulness a natural part of their everyday lives, without having to develop the time-consuming habit of meditating for an hour a day.
While the mindfulness training programme expects you to adapt to the rigid schedule of a daily meditation practice, my approach uses the flexibility of the mindfulness principles which easily adapt to your daily routine.
So how does everyday-mindfulness work? Imagine you have just received a distressing phone call from a demanding client or an indifferent supplier. Rather than giving your co-worker, wife/husband or dog a hard time only because you feel frustrated, and rather than angrily continuing to work and allowing stress hormones to run rampant in your body… this time you consciously take a time-out to process the stress that has come your way. You’ll simply sit and breathe for a few minutes to calm yourself down. If you go through several challenging situations a day… you sit and breathe for a few minutes after each stressful experience.
You’ll find that this proves to be a great way to practise mindfulness throughout the day, and you’ll quickly become really good at letting go of stress, anxiety and anger. Apart from preventing stress from building up to dangerously unhealthy levels, you’ll also discover that the number of stressful experiences will rapidly decline as you grow more resilient, resulting in better focus and emotional balance as a natural consequence.
n Marisa Garau is a mindfulness expert who has lived in Mangawhai since 2007. Find more practical tips on how to de-stress your life at her website or flick her an email if you’d like to have a personal chat: email@example.com