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Wow, it is finally here. Spring has arrived in Vancouver! And with it, comes the topic of how to live more in the moment. After all, when the season changes to spring, people start to spend more time outside and it is a perfect time to start living more in the moment. Mindfulness in Vancouver is easy to practice when the weather is warming up!
With Spring Comes a New Beginning
With the warming weather and the clocks going forward, many people experience a lift of the ‘doldrums’ . Simply being able to be outdoors and enjoying the sites, sounds and smells with the blossoming of a new season invigorates and revitalizes the spirit.
It also pulls my attention to the things that are happening all around us. The obvious is the season itself. I have noticed more song birds recently and the sounds of the wind as it moves through the newly budding plants, flowers and trees. Any season, and particularly spring, invites our senses to be mindfully aware of the blossoming of life around each of us every single day. It calls for wonder, appreciation and gratitude. It calls for mindfulness in Vancouver!
So, what is Mindfulness?
So, what is mindfulness anyways? Simply put, it is a more intentional and mindful way to be. “Mindfulness practices” and behaviours are essentially ways of being more deliberate, more purposeful and intentionally aware of what is occurring in the ‘here-and-now’. That is, focusing entirely on this-very-moment-in-time, and nothing else. Not thinking about what’s for dinner, or worried about your kids, or finances, or anticipating the upcoming vacation. Our thoughts always tend to “travel” from being totally focused on the moment at hand. That is perfectly natural and a big part of human. But to be mindful, a person is simply aware, catching their thoughts ‘floating’ and gently bring themselves back to the moment.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Think of mindfulness as a break for the mind. We all talk about the benefits of relaxation – well mindfulness is a conscious and deliberate way of just focusing on the here and now. It has been known to decrease feelings of anxiety, improve sleep, and enhance feelings of general well being. And it’s free and easy!! But don’t be afraid of failure. The most common reason people shy away from learning about mindfulness is they confuse it with deep meditation. While yes, mindfulness is a tool in meditation – but you can practice mindfulness simply on a walk in Vancouver’s beautiful spring weather! So read on, and give it a try!
Practice Mindfulness in Vancouver!
Vancouver is a busy city. Traffic, noise, lots of people, large buildings, construction. So why practice mindfulness in Vancouver? First of all, don’t think that this shift is for all time. It isn’t like suddenly changing your way of being! Now that spring has arrived in Vancouver and you are likely more out and about in the city, try and take this opportunity to practice it. How? Well, you have to be deliberate. Here are some quick steps to begin your journey in mindfulness.
- Choose a time to go for a walk outside. It should be a time in which you aren’t in a rush or have competing things to do. A 20 minute stretch of time is good. You can do this with a friend – but only if they also wish to practice mindfulness with you. There is no talking when being mindful!
- While you begin your walk, spend some time paying attention to your surroundings. Notice the sounds. Notice what smells are in the air. Take note of what the temperature feel like. Spend a few minutes just paying attention to the senses and if you notice a thought coming into your head, just simply and without judgement refocus back to the sense. Practice this for a minute or two.
- Now pay attention to your steps. Think about your right foot, then your left foot. Think about your legs and hips, what your arms are doing. Again, if thoughts enter hour head, simply redirect your attention to your walking. Practice this for a minute or two.
- And now pay attention to your breathing. In and out. It helps to count them up to 10. 1 – in breath, 2 – for out breath, 3 – for in breath and so on. Practice this for a few minutes.
- And you’re done! You have practice mindfulness in Vancouver! Simply and gradually shift our attention back to your thoughts – allow your thoughts to wonder – but ask yourself – how did this feel?
Next Steps to Practicing Mindfulness
So, this was a very quick and simple introduction to the concept of mindfulness. It is simply being in the “here and now”. If you want to check out a good resource, go to HeadSpace. This is a great resource on mindfulness and has some great animations to illustrate the concept. There’s an App as well – so check it out.
Waypoint offers Support in Vancouver
If you want to be connected to more support in Vancouver – check us out! We offer a personalized approach to connecting people with the right counsellor. Learn more here. And in closing – I invite all readers to soak up the delights of spring in Vancouver and practice living in the Here and Now!