You’re relaxing on your dream beach and find yourself spiraling into distant thought a thousand miles away from where you are? You’re missing out on the moment and you’re not alone!
We have a little secret to help you capture it from now on!
A likely story
You sit there, trying once again to finish what you so desperately need to get done before your travel escape.
Battling a million distracting thoughts that wrestle for your attention.
You watch as your own hand instinctively reach out for your phone for another lap of the apps…
Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook and then back to Instagram to see if anyone’s stories are updated in the past 30 seconds…
Damn it! You internally scream when horror strikes as you realise for the last hour you’ve done absolutely nothing towards your goal and have no recollection where the time went.
You are a serial procrastinator!
And you’re becoming increasingly aware that unless you intervene this attention sucking mindset will follow you on your travel adventures too!
This ancient practice has had its fair share of scientific analysis too.
Recent MRI scans show that regular mindfulness meditation increases thickness in the prefrontal cortex and parietal lobes of the brain which both link to attention control.
So if the number one way to achieve mindfulness is to concentrate on breathing then shouldn’t we all be levitating like Yoda by now?
While breathing requires no conscious thought of our own, it is the ‘concentration’ of doing so that is a mindful act.
Draw your attention to the pressure of the floor beneath your feet.
Can you feel it?
Well, the sub-conscious mind always registered it but it is only now we pay our conscious attention towards it that we can actually feel it.
Just think of all the information we suck in each day that we aren’t even aware our sub-conscious mind is consuming!
There’s no wonder we struggle for our own attention, as our brain try’s to process the media bombardment in our 21st century 24/7 lifestyles…
Mindfulness doesn’t restrict the world we live but gives us a tool to handle it.
Allowing our minds some space to clear our heads and find rest so we can restart with a sense of order.
If we keep jumping on the back of every thought that floats by we will never get to experience moments in their fullness!
Leaving us running in circles, unsatisfied and burnt out.
Do It Yourself
- Begin to wriggle your toes in your shoes and feel the pressure of the floor.
- Really concentrate on how it feels inside your shoes.
- Now feel your foots heaviness on the ground.
If you’ve never tried mindfulness meditation before then you’ve just had your first bite-sized experience of it!
And more people than ever are starting to use this stress-busting mindfulness practice from CEOs to school children.
There’s no need to sit cross-legged on a mountain top or waft incense in front of you as you pop to the shops to grab the milk.
Just find a quiet space where you can sit on a chair for ten minutes to close your eyes each day and begin.
Even where you are now if you can, or set a reminder on your phone to try it later when you’re home.
Quick ‘How To’ in mindfulness:
- Set an alarm 10 minutes from now and draw your attention to your breath.
- Find a comfortable chair and sit up as straight as possible with as little back support as possible.
- Start to pay attention to how your body is breathing, without altering it in any way.
- Feel the air as it passes the tip of your nose and the steady cycle of your breath as it transitions from inhalation to exhalation.
- Now softly close your eyes and relax the muscles in your face.
- As you listen to your natural breath you may find your thoughts begin to wander as ideas and thoughts pop into your mind.
- Don't worry, this feeling IS NORMAL!
- When you realise you are distracted and following a thought, simply bring the story to a close and your mind back into the room with your breath.
- Simply repeat this process each time you lose concentration and escape into thought for the remainder of your session.
As your 10 minutes finishes you may feel a sense of calm, or a sense of frustration with how the practice went.
Remember it not sitting with 'still thoughts' for 10 minutes that makes it a worthwhile practice. It is the process of equipping the mind to draw your attention back to focus each time you lose yourself in thought.
Well done! That is a great first step into giving your mind some space so it can think clearer and strengthen your concentration and presence for staying in the moment.
The next time you catch yourself re-reading a sentence repeatedly because it doesn’t sink in, or feel as though you're missing the highlight of your adventure because you can't stay in the moment;
Try and remember to give your brain the space it needs to reframe, reset and restore with 10 simple minutes of mindfulness.
Keep an eye out for more posts on Mindfulness & Travel here at Golden Hour by subscribing to our newsletter for the latest release.