The ClearSpace Corner: Being Mindful

Have you ever felt like your brain is cluttered, that if your head has to produce or retain one more thought, it may just explode, or that you’re unable to focus on one thing because there are too many tasks on your to-do list that are vying for your attention?

It’s an unfortunate reality that despite the advancements in technology, (advancements that were supposed to free up more time for us and make life simpler) we are busier and more stressed than ever. We now have access to seemingly unlimited amounts of information through numerous mediums and for some reason this has increased our temptation to multi-task. Teenagers today are texting while watching a tv series on their laptop and simultaneously updating their FaceBook status.

So in a world when most people aren’t simply doing one thing, how can we be mindful? And is it worth the effort?

There’s something to be said for the cliché, “every day is a new beginning.” If you can get beyond the cheesiness of the statement, you could interpret it to mean that after a good night’s sleep, when your body and mind are recharged, you can start each day with a clear, fresh mind.  (That is, if you don’t reach over and grab for your Blackberry before you get to the breakfast table as referenced in this New York Times article). http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/technology/10morning.html?_r=1&hp

Blackberry-ing before breakfast aside, the clarity that we often start the day with is easy to lose as we travel through the minutiae of life – getting children dressed, fed and off to school; a morning commute; deadlines at work; household chores; phone calls to return; emails to sort through; bills to pay, the list goes on – and suddenly our minds are overworked and/or over-stimulated.

One way to bring mindfulness into our day is to create systems that remind us to reconnect with ourselves, to slow down and just be. Whether it’s setting the alarm on your phone as a reminder of your 5-minute daily meditation, blocking off time in your calendar each day to get out for a walk, or an email reminder to do some stretches while the kids are napping, the main thing is finding a way to clear space for yourself that works for you. While it’s often hard to slow down when the world around you seems to be traveling at the speed of light (the image of a salmon swimming upstream against the current comes to mind), it is possible.

And being mindful has been proven to be good for your health.  As reflected in a recent Mindfulness training study, http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/06/01/mindfulness.training.stress/index.html,  “Mindfulness exercises are excellent stress-busters.”

More than that, though, being mindful allows us to experience life a little more deeply, and reminds us to savour and reconnect with the things that make us happy.

So, why not start right now – you can click on one of the free podcasts at ClearSpaceOnline www.clearspaceonline.com (there’s a 5-minute relaxation, a 10- or 20-minute yoga sequence) and let yourself be mindful.

Because just as most of us can relate to the feeling of a cluttered brain, I’m sure we can just as easily relate to the feeling of calm, space and peace that comes from a clear mind.

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