The world is abuzz with mindfulness right now, claiming it’s the perfect antidote to the busyness, rush and stress of the modern world. But why exactly do our 21st Century brains need mindfulness now more than ever?
Our brains are overwhelmed and overloaded
Our ‘always on’ digital connection is overloading and overwhelming our brains. The almost constant onslaught of such a large volume of information via our devices in modern times equates to about 34GB of information being uploaded each day! A study, conducted by researchers at the University of California-San Diego, found that people are, every day inundated with the equivalent amount of information sufficient to overload a laptop within a week. No wonder we feel overwhelmed!
We don’t take brain breaks
Most of us go, go, go, work, work, work all day, getting through our never ending to do list without giving our brains a break. We’re operating our brains like machines, thinking the harder and faster we work them, the more outputs we’ll get. In reality, our brains are the opposite – they need to be constantly switching between expending and then replenishing energy. Research shows we should use our cognition for no more than 90 mins without a mindful break for 10-20 minutes to recharge our mental, emotional and physical energy. Yet most of us work all day and then wonder why we are so fatigued.
We’ve lost the art of doing things mindfully
Most of us now outsource a lot of the activities that are naturally mindful. Activities that our ancestors would have done themselves, just a few generations ago. We don’t chop firewood; we get it delivered. Instead of cooking from scratch or growing our own fruit or vegetables, we buy ready-made meals and produce from the shops. Instead of gardening or moving the lawns we pay a gardener. And rather than knit a jumper we buy one ready-made. With the loss of these naturally mindful activities in our day-to-day routines, it’s more important than ever that we purposefully carve out mindful moments.
A cultural resistance to rest and relax
All of this coupled with our cultural resistance to ‘rest’ and the fact we’ve lost the ability to be bored (we plug every small gap with our smart phones …the lift, waiting in queues, for a friend to turn up) …our poor minds need a rest. Daily mindful moments are the perfect remedy. They give our busy minds and lives some much-needed time in the present moment, which offers rest and reprieve from information and past and future living. And it actually resets and recharges us, just like we recharge our phones when they go flat.
What exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is not so much a new skill we need to master, but a different way of doing things. Jon Kabat Zin defines it as, “paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, without judgement”. So, we are not trying to stop thoughts, instead, we simply need to start noticing them. And you can’t get it wrong, as you’re simply paying attention to what is, without trying to change it. One of the best ways to be mindful, is a mindful meditation (with a guide, a bell or your breath to hold your attention), or simply engaging your senses.
Ideas for mindful moments in your day
Mindfulness doesn’t need to take long, just a few minutes of putting your phone away and tuning into the present moment can make a big difference.
- Tech-free walk outside
- Mindful eating/tea/coffee break
- Mindful conversation
- Tidy workspace or do dishes mindfully
- Mindful colouring
- Mindful breathing
- Mindful beauty routine
Turning mindfulness into a habit
For most people, mindfulness itself is a simple concept, but we find it hard to do. Why? Because we are all so busy, we end up running on auto-pilot most of the day and forget to incorporate ‘mindful moments’. What we need is to identify parts of our daily routine and use those moments as our reminder to be mindful.
Syrene senses meditation
We all feel the pressures of time and responsibility and this often means rushing through our beauty routine without really being present. But Syrene's beautiful skincare range offers a lovely opportunity for daily mindfulness and to turn our beauty routine into a mindful ritual. Here, we can reconnect with ourselves and find a little space in our busy day, while looking after our mind, body and our skin.
The Syrene senses meditation (can be practiced daily, morning and night)
Take 5 deep, belly breaths…
Listen carefully to the sounds around you, the different layers of those sounds….what can you hear? Tune into the serenity of the space around you.
Open your Syrene products, inhale deeply and enjoy the beautiful scents, what can you smell, what do the smells remind you of?
Notice the beautiful coloured packaging, the shapes of the bottles, the colour and texture of the gels and moisturisers, what else can you see around you in the room? The different objects, light, colours and shapes
Take time to enjoy each product one by one, and the different sensations on your skin…
...the feel of the foam from the Aquagel Oil to Foam Cleanser, the sensation of the cool or warm water when you splash your face or the texture of your flannel on your skin.
...the cool sensation and texture of the Aquagel Refreshing Toner on your skin and how cool, refreshed and clean your skin feels afterwards.
...the softness of the Aqua Restore Eye Essence and the firm yet soft feeling of the delicate skin around your eyes as you apply it.
...the creamy, thick texture of the Aqua Intense Cream and the glow of your skin after you’ve applied it…perhaps take an extra 30-60 seconds to give yourself a beautiful facial massage or use a jade roller and really feel into each part of your face and neck.
Lastly check in with yourself
How do you feel right now? What do you need to take care of yourself today/tonight? What are three things you are grateful for?
Some extra ideas to enhance the experience (all of these ideas will further calm the nervous system):
- Turn off distractions
- Dim the lights and light a candle - try the Aqua Glow.
- Focus on slow deep, belly breathing while you are being mindful
- Give yourself a facial or jade roller massage
- Play some relaxing music
- Incorporate essential oils via a diffuser or roller on your pulse points
- Go slowly