We have all heard about the power of the mind, right?
You know, the concept that we only use 10% of our brain? Well, science has done a lot to disprove this, however, the influence thoughts have in shaping our life is huge and very often something we have little control over.
To demonstrate, let’s do a little test. First I want you to wiggle your toes, next clench your fingers together to form a ball and finally spin your arms around. Super easy right? Well, besides looking like a complete dork (got ya there) this is an example of just how in control we are of our body!
Now this time I want you to completely stop what you are doing, focus on your breath, and cease all thoughts in your head, try and do this for 60 seconds.
Now that was a lot harder. Maybe you found yourself thinking about work, what to make for dinner, or about how silly you were to fall for my trick before. Regardless, this highlights that despite thoughts being our own, we often struggle to control them.
No matter what you want to achieve in your life, having a strong understanding and control of your thoughts is essential for success. While meditation is and will always be the number one technique for developing mindfulness, often beginners find the concept to esoteric and avoid ever picking up the habit.
Luckily, we can find this same state of mind in other practices, helping us to develop a thought pattern that is present in the moment and focused.
Acupressure is an ancient practice created by the people of India many hundreds of years ago.
Back then they used what was called the bed of nails to trigger pressure points across the body.
It was through this stimulation of pressure points that blood flow, muscle relaxation, and toxin removal would occur. These are brought by daily activities that affect the right body posture.
Now, despite the name scaring me half to death, it was during laying on the bed of nails that holy men would meditate, they claim that the pressure points triggered helped them reach a state of pure mindfulness. Luckily today we don’t need to go down to Bunnings or Home Depot (hello US readers) to get some nails, no, we have modern acupressure mats that have over 5000 lotus-shaped pressure point pads to stimulate internal points across the body. When you first get your acupressure mat I always recommend wearing a shirt, as you lie on the mat you will at first feel some slight discomfit, after about 30 seconds warm sensations will come across the body!
All of this will leave you in a mindful state, placing your thoughts solely on the nice sensations of the body. If you do this for 10 minutes a day for a few weeks you will quickly notice your thought patterns shifting towards a state that is more in the moment.
Cooking and baking
Cooking food is modern-day alchemy, a process of reactions working on a micro level to deliver your palate’s joy.
It is within this process of getting our hands within once-living tissue do we experience an almost grounding experience, taking us back to more primitive days. The next time you find yourself in the kitchen preparing a meal try doing this exercise.
First, take each piece of food and touch it all around, focus on the different textures each item provides. Next, as you are preparing the meal concentrate on the smell and aroma in the air, notice how it runs up your nose and tickles the hair. The final part is once prepared stare and study your dish, notice the different colours and observe the pattern and texture.
Now doing this won’t turn you into a Zen Buddhist monk, but if you do this daily your thought patterns will start moving towards a more present viewpoint, soon it won’t just be the food you notice but also the clouds on a nice day, the smell of grass in the morning and the sound of the wind coming off the coastline.
If you live near the beach, then this next exercise is the one for you! We all as kids loved going to the beach. As a girl I remember spending hours exploring the rock pools, tantalized by the alien world that lied just below my ankles. This same enjoyment and wonder can be experienced when you go snorkelling.
When you go swimming with a full face snorkel mask you will see another world.
It is here that your mind is completely absorbed by what is around you, there is no time to be thinking about the simple troubles of daily life. you are present fully to the experience. If you can find the time, try snorkelling for an hour twice a week. You will find yourself revitalized and full of energy after these snorkelling sessions. Give it a few weeks and you will notice a more mindful state all thanks to the mother nature.