As some of the regular readers may know one of the main aims of this blog is to inspire other busy parents to give mindfulness a go AND to help us help the next generation embrace mindful living.
A very happy and unexpected by-product of the blog (and something I am extremely grateful for) is that I have become acquainted with some lovely like-minded bloggers. So I invited some of these bloggers to explain a little bit about their relationship with mindfulness and add their voice to my blog through the ‘Mindfulness and Me’ guest series. If this sounds like something that you would like to participate in then please do contact me by completing the form on the on my own ‘Mindfulness and Me’ page. It is a chance for us to have a great insight into how flexibly mindfulness can be applied to our lives. The idea for this series was first conceived from the somewhat tongue-in-cheek interview which I did with my hubby recently. You may want to read this here.
Ethan from The Mindful Young Man is our ninth participant. I am extremely pleased to welcome our first male participant to the guest series.
- When and how did you first come across mindfulness? Over a year ago I had the idea of getting into personal development and self improvement. I thought, why not, I might as well see what kind of person I can become with self improvement. I just thought that I was going to improve happiness and maybe rid myself of a little worries. Fast forward a few months into my research and I started to hear the words “meditation” and “mindfulness” repeated over and over again. So, with an open mind I sought out what meditation had to offer. After I watched a long, extended YouTube video about it. I became hooked on the idea of living in the moment. I had some revelations about meditation, it just made so much sense. I was wondering why I hadn’t started doing it sooner. Then meditation led to mindfulness and here I am today.
- What were your initial thoughts about it? When I initially heard about mindfulness I had no idea what the true meaning of the word was. I thought it just the opposite of being mindless.
- How has mindfulness helped you personally?
Mindfulness has helped my in every aspect of life. The biggest thing that it has helped me with is equanimity, a.k.a. emotional control. Whenever I feel angry, sad, depressed, stressed, fearful etc. I simply watch the emotion as it passes through my body, but most importantly I don’t react to my emotions. It has also helped me live a happier life. When I catch myself lost in thought, I simply bring my awareness back to the breath or external processes. I feel the pressure of my feet on the ground, I notice the complexity of everything around me, taking in all the colors, smells, sounds, and anything else to be attentive to. With mindfulness, I always have something to lean back on. No matter what my mind is doing at any given moment I can always bring my awareness back to the breath.
- How do you fit mindfulness into your busy life? I try to be mindful every second of my life. Mindfulness is different from meditation in that it can be practiced all day, not only when you’re sitting down with your eyes closed. Mindfulness is a state of being, rather than just another thing on the to-do list. To fit mindfulness in my life I simply become aware of the present moment, aware of everything that’s going on around me. Not only aware of my surroundings but aware of my actions. I become completely engrossed in my work. Whether I’m writing a blog post or doing homework, just putting all my attention on the task at hand.
- What are your ‘go to’ – informal or formal – practices (if you have them)?
My go to practice is a very common practice in the world of mindfulness. Almost anyone that’s looked into mindfulness or meditation has heard of it. It’s just noticing the breath. Whenever I find myself lost in thought I simply bring my awareness back to the rise and fall of the breath.
Another practice that I personally find helpful is to simply notice the sounds entering your consciousness. Not trying to listen to the sounds, but simply allowing them to enter your eardrums.
- How important do you think formal meditation is to someone who is trying to approach life mindfully? I think that formal meditation is a MUST. It’s the absolute best way to approach mindfulness. Meditation is the key to a happier more fulfilled life. Without meditation I don’t know where I would be. I can also see what meditation offers for me in the future. I encourage everyone to meditate. Here are a few tips I’ve learned.
- It doesn’t matter what position you sit it. Just sit in a comfortable chair, but not laying down.
- Meditation isn’t about doing nothing but rather watching our minds from a different perspective. Not getting lost in thought but rather becoming aware of everything around us.
- You’re not going to get it at first. The only way to get better is to practice. When you start out your mind will be going crazy thinking about everything possible. This doesn’t mean that you’re failing. In fact, this is the time that you’re learning the most.
- How would you like to extend your mindfulness practice further? I would like to be mindful more often. No one is mindful 100% of the time, but with practice you can live in the present moment for a progressively longer amount of time. I intend to become more aware of my surroundings and the given situation at hand, not distracted with my cell phone, watching TV, thoughts, etc.
- Do you have friends or family who use mindfulness techniques too?
I have taught my dad a few mindfulness techniques and told him what guided meditation videos to watch. My dad has become interested in what I’m researching about living in the moment. He’s the person closest to me that practices mindfulness techniques, but with the startup of my blog about 6 months ago I’m convincing many family and friends to be mindful in their own lives.
- What ‘top tips’ do you have for someone thinking of trying Mindfulness for the first time? Start out by simply following your breath. This may seem very simple and you will want to become aware of everything around you. I still follow my breath every single day and I have read a few books on mindfulness and consciousness. Even Zen Masters use their breath to live in the present moment.Also, try to notice when you are lost in thought. Then gently bring your attention back to the situation in hand. To the here and the now.
- Who would you recommend mindfulness to and why? I would recommend mindfulness to everyone. No matter what age, mindfulness can completely alter the direction of your life for the better. You will gain an advantage on your peers as to happiness and fulfillment in life. It may just be the single most important habit to create in your life. So BE MINDFUL, YOU WON’T REGRET IT!!!!!Ethan really is an amazing teenager! He writes so passionately and articulately about mindfulness. What an inspiration. I will be quoting his answer to number 3 to the students I teach. I’d like to thank him for taking part in the ‘Mindfulness and Me’ guest series. If you’d like to read more from Ethan who has written please visit his blog here.
You can find Ethan on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. It would great if you could show him some support by following him. Next time we will be welcoming Helena from The Queen of Collage to answer the questions.
Thanks and bye for now.