I love being social with family and friends whenever I can squeeze the opportunity into my unhealthily busy schedule. Nothing makes me happier than sipping on a Vanilla Latte discussing the tragedy of ‘Breaking Bad,’ how I will get more sleep this week and convincing everyone around me to read the ‘Mortal Instruments’ series. Seriously dear reader, you need that series (and pre-series) in your life. In all seriousness as much as I love connecting with my fellow human race over a good social outing, I exist with the constant desire to be un-social.’ Ironically, becoming unsocial helps me to have good things to bring up in conversations such as books, TV series and films. Living a busy lifestyle limits my opportunity to indulge of little moments of ‘me time.’ So over the past few months, I have been training myself to make the most out of every opportunity I get to be unsocial. I achieve this through one of the great loves of my life: Mindfulness Reading.
I have posted about my love for the art of mindfulness before on ‘Miss Book Dependent’, which I recognized as the ability to be physically and mentally aware of completing an activity or habit and enjoying every sensation it brings. I did a blog post exploring the benefits of ‘Mindfulness colouring’ featuring Johana Basford’s colouring book ‘The Secret Garden.’ Thinking about every colour and stroke helped me to unwind after a stressful day at work. As much as I did enjoy indulging in sneaky colouring sessions, being mindful through reading is a lot more practical for my lifestyle. I was introduced to Mindfulness last year when I was going through some anxiety issues. Since learning some of the techniques and strategies, I have never been more happy and healthy. Mindfulness is becoming extremely mainstream and strategies are even being taught in classrooms. I have taken a photo of a mindfulness box I purchased from kikki-K, my favourite stationery store in the galaxy. Kikki-K sell lots of products promoting the importance of self-love and happiness. Through practice, I have become so aware of enjoying things at a more relaxed pace. For example, I eat much slower and devour every mouthful of my meals. Just thinking about the delicious flavours and ingredients reduces stress levels as I am not rushing. I have transitioned mindfulness techniques to as many aspects of my life as I can manage. The best way to begin your journey to mindfulness is to try a mindfulness cup of tea. Yes dear reader, make yourself a steaming herbal tea, sit down on the couch and enjoy every sip. Tune out from the hustle and bustle of your hectic day and completely involve yourself in thinking about your drink. Think about the way you hold the tea cup, bring it to your lips and the feeling of the hot beverage sliding down your throat. You will feel instantly soothed and refreshed. My favourite of all of my relaxation moments is Mindfulness reading. Just holding a book in my hand and absorbing the words off the page brigs me so much happiness. I am conscious of every page I turn beneath my fingers. The sheer enjoyment of holding the book in my hands and escaping into the story enables my mind to focus and relax simultaneously. Just the other week my boyfriend was watching ‘Iron Man’ and I was reading on the couch. As Tony Stark was doing Tony Stark things, I was completely absorbed in Gayle Forman’s ‘I was here’ and didn’t take any notice of his quick wit and ability to explode things. Mindfulness reading helps to The old saying of “practice makes perfect” reminds me of my Mum’s strong advice of “Ashleigh, don’t forget to pack a jacket.” It’s never wrong. Even though the definition and initial idea of Mindfulness appears easy it does take a lot of practice to become Mindful. I must admit dear reader that when I began practicing Mindfulness, I felt awkward and could hear a weird buzzing sound in my brain. In retrospect, I realise now it was silence. I was accustomed to listening to my own nagging thoughts of assignments, working commitments, people’s birthday’ and messages I was still yet to reply. And of course all the books I wanted to purchase but couldn’t afford. Now for me, silence is golden.
I have set myself a personal challenge of ‘month of mindfulness’ to focus on for May. Even though I have become dutiful in my practice of mindfulness techniques everyday, I believe it is only a positive thing to spend more effort on reducing thoughts of negativity and stress in my life. So far this month, I have finished reading Victoria Aveyard’s ‘The Red Queen’ and Jodi Picoult’s novel ‘Leaving Time.’ Even reading these two novels against the pressure of a deadline, I have still found that I have been able to mindfully read these stories. I made sure I put enough time aside to ensure I had enough time to finish these reads. A mindfulness reading challenge I am setting for this month is to become adjusted to e-books. I have recently purchased an iPad mini so I can read books on it. But, it has a completely different vibe to holding a real book I have always been against the idea of an e-book or tablet for reading, but in the aftermath of my book cleanse and numerous slip ups, I feel that it will be not only saving space in my room but money in my purse.
What are your mindfulness challenges for May dear reader?
Miss Book Dependent xo