The co-founder of Mindfulness Cornwall and our seasoned wellness expert teaches us how to create a window of calm in our days.
As we embark on a new year, it’s a good time to pause and take stock: to reflect on the year passed and to steady ourselves for the adventures and challenges ahead.
A wonderful way to renew our calm and energy is by practicing mindfulness. It’s an ancient technique that in essence is really as simple as paying attention to the present moment, as hard as that can seem sometimes. Happily, there are lots of different ways you can bring a little mindfulness into your day, whether it’s exploring a formal mindfulness practice, bringing awareness to creating some art or craft, a walk where you open your eyes and ears to the world around you, or engaging all your senses while enjoying a cup of tea.
For several years at Seasalt we have been lucky enough to have mindfulness teacher Vici Williams on hand, who leads sessions year-round as part of our wellbeing programme. She has been practicing mindfulness or over 25 years and, following postgraduate training in mindfulness based approaches at the University of Exeter, has been teaching for the last 10, initially within the NHS. She co-founded Mindfulness Cornwall in 2011, a ‘not for profit’ organisation to make mindfulness accessible to all. She also supervises mindfulness teachers and supports trainee mindfulness teachers through Universities and The Mindfulness Network.
Mindfulness is central to me personally in my life and I am hugely grateful to be able to pass it on to the Seasalt team and to the wider community.
Mindfulness is described as a ‘way of being’. It can support us in the fullness of our lives, enriching our wellbeing by enabling us to feel connected and at ease and giving us kinder and more responsive ways to work with the stress and challenges that we experience.
We all spend much of our time distracted and busy. Even when we are ‘relaxing’, we may well notice our thinking minds are still very active, going over things, planning for what’s to come. This is normal and natural for us all and what we are working with in our mindfulness practice.
So we not looking to ‘not think’ or necessarily to relax, but rather to gently bring ourselves back into present moment awareness.
With winter, lockdowns and working from home, it is really important that we take care of ourselves and our wellbeing. You may like to explore the mindfulness guidance below and see how you find it. Bring an open mind and patience to the experience and see what you discover!
Vici’s simple mindfulness tips
- Explore using your senses as supports in connecting to the present moment. Look at the view, listen to the birds, feel the wind, smell the sea air, taste your cup of tea.
- Choose an everyday activity, like washing-up, brushing your teeth or walking the dog, and bring your full attention to it. Notice how it is to do this with awareness.
Take a short pause
Try a mini-break to step away from the forward momentum of your day, ‘reconnecting’ to your body or with your breath.
- Sit comfortably in a chair, feet on the floor and your spine straight yet at ease. You may like to close your eyes or rest your gaze on the floor in front of you.
- Explore bringing your attention down into the body feeling the contact points where your body meets the chair or floor feeling a sense of groundedness.
- Gently move awareness into the upper body and notice the fact that you are breathing, letting the awareness ride the waves of your inhales and exhales.
- If you find your mind wandering, gently bring your focus back to your breath.
- See how you feel when you step back into the flow of your day.
Interested in going a little deeper? Vici recommends exploring the work of Jon Kabat Zinn, the Centre for Mindfulness Practice and Research and the Oxford Mindfulness Centre for more meditations and ways to practice mindfulness. Our blog is also full of helpful wellbeing content. Browse to discover guides to breathing yourself calm, soothing soundscapes, nutritional advice, led meditations and more.