Mindfulness is a big buzzword around Dublin.

What with social media, multi-tasking, and generally running around like mad things, Dubliners are in need of new ways to unplug and relax. Mindfulness is one way to answer this need. Which is why it’s moving from the hippie fringe to the mainstream.

We have so much going on in our heads, and so many items on our mental to-do lists, that we often carry out daily tasks without being conscious of what we’re doing. Or being able to remember it later. ‘Did I turn off the immersion?’ we wonder. ‘What time did I arrange the meeting for?’ We worry that our house will be robbed because we can’t remember locking the door. We spend so much time thinking about the past or the future that we barely give the present – what we’re currently doing or experiencing right now – a look-in.

mindfulness-learning-for-the-soul_0077_880x620

Mindfulness is about deliberately focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgement. It’s about being fully engaged and ‘in the moment’ with your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. This means being aware that you are breathing, sitting, walking, cooking, whatever you are doing – and making this your main focus. It is like a shift from ‘doing mode’ to ‘being mode’. You might actually remember locking the door next time.

We spend so much time thinking about the past or the future that we barely give the present  a look-in

People use mindfulness because they find it reduces stress and gives a greater sense of control over their lives. They think of it as a taking a break from the negative emotions and worries that we experience on a daily basis. It helps people to get more enjoyment out of their good times – and to handle their bad times better by being fully present in the moment. It is also said to boost the immune system, decrease depressive symptoms, reduce insomnia and increase concentration and working memory.

Being engaged 100% doesn’t come easy, especially in our world of technology and distractions. Mindfulness doesn’t happen overnight. It’s learning to think in a new way and applying it to your daily life. It’s normally taught as a series of classes 1-2 hours a week combined with practice at home in between classes. Participants are taught a number of specific meditation practices proven to help reduce “brain chatter”. It’s not just sitting in a room of silence for an hour a day. It usually involves meditation, learning to focus on the moment, breathing exercises and learning how to deal with stress and negative thoughts. A typical meditation consists of focusing on our breathing as a way to clear the mind.

It usually involves meditation, learning to focus on the moment, breathing exercises and learning how to deal with stress and negative thoughts

There are many classes and courses available in the Dublin region but if you want to give it a try before making the commitment to a course, here are some drop-in classes in the city you can try out.

The Mindfulness Centre on Pembroke Street Lower has a drop-in class every Monday 6-7pm, with donations going to charity. You don’t need to book and you can try it without committing to a course. For more information, visit their website www.mindfulness.ie

Oscailt also offers a drop in class every Tuesday at 5.45 pm with no booking required. It consists of a half-hour sitting meditation practice, a few minutes break, and resumes with a talk. It’s a great introduction for beginners and the cost is a suggested €10 donation. For more information see oscailt.com

Genevieve is a sunset child from the west of Ireland, now living and working in Dublin as an advertising creative. She doodles, she dreams, she travels, she schemes.

The Lilliput Press

On a quiet corner in Stoneybatter, behind a quaint but unassuming shopfront lies renowned Dublin publishing house, Lilliput Press. The door is wide open when I arrive, and the sunshine falls in on a room lined with bookshelves. Two men sit on a sofa by the window, leaning over a coffee table covered in books. The door of founder Antony Farrell’s office sits ajar, and inside there is the busyness of a thoroughly active office; heaped manuscripts, teetering book stacks, handwritten letters taped to the wall. After he ensures I have a coffee and a bit of fruit to snack on, I sit on a chair in amongst the chaos of the heaving room. Antony sits behind his desk, peeling a mand

Read More

UCD’s Irish Folklore Centre

Folklore: leprechauns, legends and fireside stories, right? Not quite. If you go down to UCD today, you’ll find a very different story. From its origins with Irish folklore collectors who, from the 1920s, scrambled around the country on a mission to record traditions, the National Folklore Collection (NFC) has grown into one of the biggest and most impressive collections of folklore and oral traditions anywhere in the world. The collection itself consists of almost 4,000 volumes of bound folklore, much of it handwritten and a substantial portion of it collected by schoolchildren during a spec

Read More

What’s different about Dublin?

Every year, tens of thousands of people from over 130 countries come to study in Ireland’s universities, institutes of technology and colleges. What’s bringing them here and why are they choosing Ireland? Sheila Power is director of the Irish Council for International Students. She points out that overall statistics for the number of international students are hard to pin down, but says that we need to broaden the conversation out. Ireland is an attractive destination for international students because it is perceived as friendly and safe “Ireland is an attractive destination for in

Read More