Being mindful of the environment
Being mindful of the environment

This month, I’m going to provide you with some very easy meditation and mindfulness exercises to do whilst enjoying our beautiful environment, but why is it important to practice meditation and mindfulness and what is the difference?

In the UK alone, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report that 595,000 workers were suffering from stress, depression or anxiety.  It’s important to bear in mind that this figure is for a one year period and this is only what’s been reported by UK work places.

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘stress is a killer?’, well when we’re continually stressed our health will suffer and we may begin to experience high blood pressure, heart disease, weight problems, lack of sleep, headaches, stomach aches, IBS, the list goes on.  Our mental health can also suffer with the onset of anxiety and depression if stress isn’t managed.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you will know how busy our lives are becoming and how important it is that we take time out for ourselves.  We need to love ourselves as much as we love others, which I find easier said than done.  I used to chastise myself in the most cruellest ways and by this I mean, there are things that I would say to myself that I wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone else, as I know it would really upset them. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t fully stopped this, but I have learned to recognise this and gently stop it. If you’re reading this right now, I’m happy that you’re accompanying me on my special life journey and together we will shine.

What’s the difference between meditation and mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to and being in the present moment.  It has also been a recommended treatment for people suffering with anxiety and depression. Benefits apart from the most important being good health and well-being, show an increase in creativity, which I can personally claim is true as I’ve restarted my gemstone bracelet design service, I’m practicing Reiki and I’ve created Gemstone and Tarot to record my adventure and help others.  Other benefits include increased memory function and your zest for life feeling will return.

In my recommended column I have talked about the benefits of Headspace and it’s the best application to get you started on your mindfulness and meditation journey. Read on for my exercise, Mindfulness and Our Senses in the Environment.

Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on something for a period of time to bring clarity and peace to your inner mind and you don’t need to be religious to practice it. Regular practice will allow you to become more positive about life and you will see the true nature of things. It’s an excellent form of stress relief and it provides time for YOU and you alone.  Remember what I was saying about loving yourself?

When meditating, the key to it is to practice regularly and over time it will become a lot easier. In the beginning, it’s far too easy to become distracted by your thoughts.  If you do find yourself distracted, come gently back to your breathing and don’t chastise or judge yourself.  Show yourself compassion to yourself as well as others.

Being mindful in the environment
Being mindful in the environment

Mindfulness and our senses in the environment

It would be a very good idea to create yourself a Mindfulness and Meditation Journal so that you can record your experiences and add photographs or drawings to it on a regular basis. It could be a scrap book or a nice looking pad or you could post about it on Facebook.  If you would like to share your mindfulness experiences, please join the Gemstone and Tarot group on Facebook. Also, look out for the introduction of workshops in 2019 that will host a number of classes one being creative journaling. Let me know if you’re interested in booking on.

When you next go out, pause and take note of what is happening around you and use ALL of your senses. Go all out to go beyond what you normally see, hear, smell, taste and feel.  I’ve included some examples that are not the norm to get you started and see how much you actually experience when practicing mindfulness in the environment.

  • What can you see that you don’t normally take any notice of?
  • Are there any unusual smells that you like or dislike?
  • What does the atmosphere feel like around you, is it positive and if so, what makes it positive?
  • What can you hear in the far distance?
  • What can you taste?  This one is always difficult, but remember to go beyond the norm.  What does that coffee actually taste of and how does it feel on your tongue?

Below you will find my account of when I sat down on a bench alone and paid attention using my senses.  Please try this out and I’ve included the steps I took prior to being mindful. 

  • Find somewhere nice to sit
  • Close your eyes
  • Begin with a deep breath in and feel your stomach rise and then breathe out slowly
  • Repeat at least four times before allowing your breathing to steady itself.  You need to feel totally relaxed, calm and at peace.  If you’re tense, on each breath out, imagine your tension slowly leaving your body, so if it’s in your shoulders, let them drop slowly in time with each slow breath out
  • Open your eyes and focus on what you see.  It could be the sunlight filtering through the trees and you notice how alive and vibrant those leaves look compared to those the rays of the sun has missed
  • You may hear a sound, go with it and allow your mind to focus on what’s making that sound. I could hear periods of rustling coming from the ground. Every now and again it would stop and then restart.  It was a blackbird rustling through the leaves hunting worms
  • I could feel the sun trying to warm up my face as there was a chill in the air
  • I could smell something woody and it was the leaves on the ground that were damp and beginning to decompose
  • I could taste a hint of mint coming from my chewing gum that I realised I’d had enough of and it was time to throw it away, in a bin of course.

Tree Grounding Meditation

As you may have already gathered, I’m constantly learning and working with my chakras and I know the importance of being grounded with Mother Nature.  Being grounded does make us feel alive with a passion for life and it can also provide assistance with balancing our emotions, giving us the courage and will to live our lives to the full.

Root chakra poster from Gemstone and Tarot
Root chakra poster from Gemstone and Tarot

Holistic therapies such as Reiki or gemstone healing can assist with balancing the flow of energy through our chakra’s and this meditation will help with the root chakra.  Check out my root chakra poster above that describes how this chakra works for you.

  • Find somewhere nice to sit or lie down, somewhere that you won’t be distracted.  Turn off your phone and if you want nice calming music, play it quietly in the background
  • Close your eyes
  • Begin with a deep breath in and feel your stomach rise and then breathe out slowly
    Repeat at least four times before allowing your breathing to steady itself. You need to feel totally relaxed, calm and at peace. If you’re tense, on each breath out, imagine your tension slowly leaving your body, so if it’s in your shoulders, let them drop slowly in time with each slow breath out
  • Visualise a strong and beautiful tree, standing proud and magnificent.  Visualise how the sun light filters through its branches and how the sun provides warmth, creativity and life
  • Feel the power of the tree inside you, making your feel proud and magnificent
  • Visualise the tree roots growing from the souls of your feet and breaking the surface of the floor beneath you
  • With each breath out you make, visualise those roots spreading further down into the Earth, further and further down until they reach the core
  • Visualise a magic glow of universal energy that provides the spark of life, the spark of creativity and power contained within this universal energy and with each breath in, it slowly rises upwards
  • It reaches your feet and climbs your legs providing a red hazy glimmer making you feel strong and secure. The energy continues upwards
  • It reaches your hips and the red turns to a vibrant orange making you feel alive and confident, full of self-esteem and creativity
  • As this energy continues to flow up, it reaches to below your chest and turns yellow filling you with joy and happiness
  • The energy turns green as it continues its journey up through your heart and down your arms to your hands and provides you with a feeling of unconditional love
  • The energy turns a vibrant blue as it reaches your throat and makes you feel peaceful and harmonious before continuing upwards, turning a vibrant indigo when reaching your brow.  Now you feel connected with Mother Nature and the cosmic flow of the universe
  • The energy now travels up through the top of your crown and enshrouds all of your body in a brilliant ultra violet light and it’s here that you stay a while reflecting on how you feel.  Take time out to feel at one with yourself.  Spend as long as you feel here, bathing in this beautiful light
  • When you feel it’s time to leave, return to your crown and travel through each of those vibrant colours, indigo at your brow, blue at your throat, green at your heart, yellow top of your stomach, orange at the bottom of your stomach and red down to your feet
  • Continue your visualisation down to the ends of your roots feeding off the magical glow of energy at the core of the Earth
  • It’s now time for the roots to leave the core as you know you have replenished the energy you need.  Visualise them slowly returning upwards to your feet
  • When you’re ready, open your eyes and relax

Please note that I don’t have any qualifications to manage your mental health and I can only offer you general advice from my own experiences. Please consult your GP if you’re struggling with your mental health as they will get you the help you need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *