STRONGER TOGETHER: Choosing to live a mindful life

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Last updated: 14/12/2022

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses choosing to live a mindful life.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

As we hurtle towards the end of the year, telling everyone that we see that we ‘can’t believe it’s Christmas already!’ I write this article hoping that it will encourage you to pause.

  1. Pause to reflect on how you are feeling right now. Using your five senses:
  • Take a moment to notice what you can hear. What noises are happening around you?
  • Feel your clothes on your skin, your feet touching the floor, perhaps your fingers touching your keypad. Feel the textures, notice any coolness, warmth or dryness.
  • What can you see? Note the different colours, brightness, dullness, any shade that surrounds you.
  • What can you taste? If you don’t notice anything that’s okay, just notice that you taste nothing.
  • Take a deep breath in and out. What can you smell as you breathe in the air around you?
  • Pause to reflect on your morning. Did you take time out for yourself this morning to check in and take notice of how you’re feeling?
  • Pause to reflect on the last week. How many times were you in the moment in the last 7 days, taking notice of what was going on for you, bringing a sense of curiosity and interest? Just being present and accepting of whatever was happening for you during that time.

Practicing mindfulness is more than a technique. It’s a choice about how we live our lives.

Doing more – what people often coin as ‘busyness’ – does not necessarily mean we achieve more. The reality is that it often has the opposite effect. Research suggests that creating conditions that enable us to give our full attention to something will result in improved performance, an increased growth mindset and an increase in deep learning (McKenzie 2013). Yet often, we choose to multitask and diminish the performance that could be achieved.

Thinking about mindfulness is different to being mindful. It’s about making a choice to live your life with authenticity, without judgement, and with acceptance of what is and what is not.

Part of this is considering the habits and beliefs we have built during our lifetime, some of which were formed during childhood. Creating new habits enables us to build superhighways in our brain - shortcuts that enable us to complete activities more efficiently, leaving us less taxed at the end of the day.

Mindfulness is a daily practice. It provides us with an amazing source of clarity where we pay our full attention to what we are doing. It brings us to a place of appreciation and insight and removes the blur that comes when we live our life from a place of ‘busyness.’

As we near the end of 2022, is there anything you would like to do to increase your clarity and support a more mindful practice?

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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