Mindfulness and Meditation

An intro:

Mindfulness – simply the ability to be present in the moment

Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment


Everyone from Oprah to Michael Jordan swears by mindfulness and meditation but it’s one celebrity activity that is accessible and open to everyone because all it costs is a little time in learning how to do it and use it effectively.

If you were to ask me when I became aware of the ability to be present in the moment – or the requirement to be more mindful – it would’ve been around approximately six years ago. I was working in a job where I was literally and figuratively bringing work home every day. The stress and anxiety I built up around my perceived inability to perform in the workplace started to take its toll.

Physically feeling sick and getting rundown, lethargic and worried about the prospect of losing my job meant that I could not be fully present in any moment – or indeed any area of my life. I became very aware of my behaviour thanks to my wife and the people around me. I also had recently started journaling – recording how I was feeling, day to day.

I was acutely aware of my situation and knew something had to change. I began a huge life shift which I attribute to two key things – journaling and meditation.

The ability to be present in a given moment when meditating transferred slowly but surely into my everyday life. The ability to not react, to stop, slow down and see things more clearly (almost in slow motion) allows me to respond more appropriately.

Mindfulness through meditation has improved my ability to be more productive, make better decisions, respond better and not overcomplicate things. It has given me an improved perspective and new lease of life and an understanding that I am ultimately in control of how I consider everything around me. Of course there are moments when I would ordinarily lose it – bad drivers, stressful work situations, family interactions and all of the usual stuff – but I have found that mindfulness makes me react differently.

My cold water challenge: I’ve taken my own mindfulness and meditation to a new level where cold water submersion accounts for a powerful and consistent part of my daily routine.

For at least the last 100+ days I have not missed 10 minutes per day in cold water so I can focus on my mindfulness. Whether that be Christmas Day in my bin (outside in the snow) or more recently 10 minutes in the dock or quayside where I am stationed. This somewhat extreme version of mindfulness encourages me to be present in the moment. When the water is freezing and full of ice I am forced to be present in the moment and this transfers seamlessly into my everyday life. It’s not for everyone but I enjoy the challenge and the sharpness of clarity of brings to me.

Over a series of webinars and articles we’ll introduce you to mindfulness through meditation and its powerful benefits. To begin with, why not introduce some breathing exercises into your daily routine as a foundation for later meditation?

Simple box breathing technique

· Sit up straight in a relaxed position, hands relaxed, feet flat on the floor

· Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds, empty your lungs

· Hold it for 4 seconds

· Then slowly inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, filling your lungs with oxygen

· Hold it for a further 4 seconds

· Repeat several times

· Repeat throughout the day as you prefer


You may prefer to start with 3 seconds, building to 4 and then 5 seconds over time

Focus on your breathing and nothing else – try to bring your thoughts back to the breathing if they start to stray

Imagine a box with 4 sides as you complete each exhale-hold-inhale-hold cycle

Our next workshop (Thursday evening – 25 Feb 2021) focuses on the mastery of meditation and mindfulness and promises to be a great introduction to this topic – see more information HERE

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