A Reflection on a Busy Person’s Mindfulness Practice

Recently I’ve been lucky enough to be accepted on to the MIND charity’s mindfulness practitioner training programme.

This means that I will be qualified to teach the 8 week MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) courses as well as my 6 week introduction to mindfulness course (the workplaceMT course).

During the application process I had to write a reflection on my mindfulness practice to date.  I really enjoyed taking time to consider my practice – why I started it, how it has developed, what challenges I face with it and where I hope this next step will take me, so I thought I would share my thoughts here too.

Feet with toenails painted orange walking on stones on a beach

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

 

I came to mindfulness in 2012 as a sceptic.

I was looking for a way to help manage my proneness to low mood and depression without being reliant on medication and so was willing to give an MBCT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) course a try.  I was drawn to the evidence-based research which was coming out about the positive outcomes of mindfulness for people suffering from mental illness.

I also appreciated the fact that mindfulness was secular and accessible.  It wasn’t about ‘clearing the mind’, it was about noticing the wandering mind.

It is the simplicity of the practice – paying attention to the breath, noticing the wandering mind and then being kind when I gently bring my attention back which continues to draw me to mindfulness.  I also remember the statement that ‘thoughts are not necessarily facts’ being a light-bulb moment for me and I continue to find this a powerful mindfulness tool.

My formal practice tends to be some mindful movement (pilates-based stretches) in the morning with a silent ‘mini’ practise where I will spend 5 –10 minutes guiding myself through some sort of variation of a 3 step breathing space.  It is then a longer guided meditation in the evening – I usually listen to something from Danny Penman or Mark Williams – either a seated practice following the breath or a body scan where I will lay down.  Sometimes I will guide myself in a befriending mediation.  My evening practice will tend to be between 10 – 2o minutes long most nights.

Informally mindfulness permeates my days (though I have to admit as a busy Mum of three mindful eating falls by the wayside most days!)  I have always been keen on getting outside so find incorporating mindful walks into my routine very straightforward – on the school run, in the park, and when I’m at work, across the playground.  I also have found that I can ‘drop my anchor’ and focus on the feet or breath useful at different times in the day – when I’m feeling irritated, frustrated or impatient and can notice signs in the body much more easily for me recognise when it may be a good idea to do this.

The challenge for me in terms of my practice is always ‘time on the mat’ – sitting and formally practising. Family commitments mean that my intention of 30 – 40 minutes of formal practice every day is not always met.  However, with my three year old twins starting pre-school this autumn and my break from the secondary school classroom happening too I’m hoping this will become easier.

Despite my busy life I am motivated to continue my practice and deepen it because of the positive impact it has on my well-being and therefore on the well-being of my loved ones too.  I am definitely excited by courses as I always find my own practice deepens and becomes more varied as a result.  Recently I attended a 4 day Mindfulness in Schools Project ‘paws be’ course and loved the ‘retreat’ style approach – longer meditations to start and end the days and time to reflect on our own practice.  I also found the 8 day residential course for the workplace MT course I trained for really refreshed and strengthened my own practice as it was much more about silent unguided formal practices.

The 3 courses I have attended (the other being another MISP course – the ‘dot b’ 5 day trainer course) have given me a chance to learn from others – the course leaders but also the other participants too and it’s been very nourishing getting to know, and spending time with, like-minded people at these events.

Do you fit any formal mindfulness meditation practice into your days?

If so I’d love to know if your experience and motivation are similar to mine.

handwritten Hayley

 

33 Comments

  1. September 22, 2018 / 8:24 am

    As a someone who is diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar CBT and mindfulness has really helped me to cope with my lows. Thoughts are not facts. Wow that was such a revelation for me too. As a busy dad of 3 I am always telling myself in can do better with regards to mindfulness but for daily spiritual readings together with a dog walk with no devices can be the difference between a good day and a bad day.

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:21 pm

      Tom, I’m so pleased you were able to access support. CBT has also been very helpful for me over the years. I think you are so right about finding simple ways to help our days be on an even keel. Thanks for the authentic and thoughtful comment.

  2. September 22, 2018 / 9:24 am

    Sounds like it has been a really positive experience for you, and has taken a direction of its own. Long may it be so. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:18 pm

      Thank you!

  3. September 22, 2018 / 9:50 am

    This sounds fantastic, well done on being accepted #satsesh@_karendennis

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:18 pm

      Thank you xx

  4. September 22, 2018 / 10:26 am

    Well done! It sounds like you’re doing great! Our worst enemy is our thoughts sometimes so it is so good to remember thoughts are not facts. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:18 pm

      So true. Thank you xx

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:17 pm

      Thank you xx

  5. Catie
    September 22, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    I really want to do some triaining that I can bring into school not just for the children (we are using jigsaw) but also for the staff as we have had a few staff with burnout. I’m keeping my eyes open and waiting until big lad is more settled in his new school. I will probably have to come to London for the training and I don’t want to leave him at the moment. A very interesting read thanks for sharing. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:16 pm

      You would be a really fab advocate for your colleagues so that all sounds a good plan once big lad is settled. You know if you ever get to London and have a free evening I would love to buy you a glass of wine XXX

  6. September 22, 2018 / 12:48 pm

    Oooh you are doing brilliantly Hayley! You’ll be popping into my school soon!
    I went on an Autumn Retreat last weekend for a mixture of yoga, meditation and fitness with vegetarian food and sleep! How wonderful have I felt all week…..😊
    As you know, I try to practise mindfulness everyday. I also use the ‘drop my ancor’ at times of need and do this with my Reception class too. We all stop and ‘drop the anchor” (they love it) and notice things around us. This new class are already picking up such excellent listening skills that they seem more receptive than other classes I’ve had. That excites me for a calmer year! I also practise mindfulness in the shower as I have very little time in the mornings and that’s when I need it most -clear my head for the day ahead. Small things can make a huge difference.
    You are at a very stressful stage parenting wise so be kind to yourself as you are amazing. Now mine are much older, I find the full teaching life easier to cope with. Take care lovely lady. X
    #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:15 pm

      Awwwww Sophie thank you for the lovely comment. The autumn retreat sounds wonderful, as does the fact that you are sharing your mindfulness practice with your class and that they are responding so well to it – we need teachers like you on the frontline doing this! I hope the new academic year has started well for you generally. Much love xx

  7. September 22, 2018 / 4:35 pm

    This sounds like a great getaway to find good headspace! Glad you found it positive. #thatsatsesh

  8. September 22, 2018 / 5:40 pm

    i attended a basic mindfulness course when i was suffering from anxiety and panic attacks. It really helped nd the lessons i learned have proved very useful . I often concentrate on my breath to calm or slow myself down and have used it to talk my DIL though a panic attach before too. and, Hayley, good luck and congratulations re you Mind contract. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:10 pm

      Thanks so much Berni and I’m so pleased you have found mindfulness useful. Hoping your DIL is ok. xx

  9. September 22, 2018 / 5:41 pm

    I enjoyed reading about your mindfulness practice. It’s great that you’ll soon be qualified to teach the 8-week course! I also do a mindfulness meditation daily for about 20 minutes and try to incorporate mindfulness into my day as much as possible. I’ve just come back from 3 days walking in the Pyrenees (which I’ve written about for #thesatsesh and found that walking for hours was almost like a walking retreat – I felt so relaxed afterwards.

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:09 pm

      Oooh yes I can’t wait to read your post. Walking is a very valid mindfulness practice xx

  10. mylifeasmrsb
    September 22, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    I think mindfulness is so important. I don’t have much time in my day to meditate so I tend to have 5-10 minutes sessions. I would like to be able to as you say ‘drop anchor’ during my school day to just bring myself back together as I often loose myself and feel stressed when I’m at work. I am interested in the courses you have done. #Satsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:08 pm

      Oh yes the ‘dropping anchor’ is so helpful. And I would really recommend the miindfulness in schools project courses. Xx

  11. thesingleswan
    September 22, 2018 / 9:08 pm

    Well done you! I am really impressed. I have just moved to a new co-parenting schedule with my ex which involves me spending a bit more time at work and a bit more time with Cygnet (I collect him 2 days a week now which is lovely). Unfortunately, the thing that is squeezed is my ‘me time’. I had a new years resolution of running 365km this year and I am now behind schedule because I just can’t work out when to fit it into my schedule. It is tough. Anyway, thank you for your post. You have motivated me to actually do something about my me-time crisis. Pen x #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 23, 2018 / 9:07 pm

      Awwww Pen – thank you for your kind words. Yes the ‘me-time’ crisis is real and is always something we need to keep working at. I love your aim of 365 km in a year – how wonderful. I hope you are able to fit in a few more runs this week xx

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 26, 2018 / 10:03 pm

      Thank you xx

  12. September 24, 2018 / 6:04 am

    What an amazing experience and it will really help a lot of people in need X #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 26, 2018 / 10:03 pm

      Thank you xx

  13. September 24, 2018 / 11:39 am

    I’m so happy for you they are a great charity whom I have had experience in training with also #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 26, 2018 / 10:03 pm

      Thanks Helena xx

  14. September 26, 2018 / 8:33 pm

    #thesatsesh ok, i need to tell you about my office meditation today – it was kick assssssss 🙂
    Everyone did it, loved it and we are now introducing ‘meditation hump day’

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 26, 2018 / 10:02 pm

      LOVE this! Well done hon! xxx

  15. September 28, 2018 / 10:33 pm

    I don’t do anything that would be formally classed as mindfulness but I am a big believer in having small pockets of personal space/time. I try to go for a 30-minute walk most lunchtimes at work, no matter how busy I am, and I often zone out for 5 minutes here and there just to give myself a breather and let my subconscious mull over stuff. #thesatsesh

    • onamindfulmummymission
      September 29, 2018 / 8:59 pm

      That sounds very sensible and excellent self-care. Thanks for the comment Tim.

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