I was lucky enough to have a lovely head and shoulder massage today and I suddenly had an insight into mindfulness and our need to ‘switch off’.
Having the massage, with my eyes closed, I lost myself in the relaxing feelings and realised that it was akin to mindfulness – that ability to switch off, to step away from our normal thought processes and be in the present moment.
We often have hobbies or pastimes that do this – anything where we might say “the time flew” “I was in the zone” “I lost track of time” – they are all forms of being in the moment, experiencing ‘Now’ and perhaps we do these activities because we need this peace, we need to have some space from the incessant thoughts in our heads – worrying, planning, berating ourselves for something….
I often try to explain mindfulness to people, and yet, it is merely cultivating the ability to conjure up this feeling and peaceful space at will – without having to distract or occupy yourself in order to achieve it. With practice, mindfulness means you can find these little pockets of peace more easily and eventually they fill all the little spare moments in your day, and I believe that this leads to very positive changes in mental health, which is increasingly important these days.