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 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