Sunday, 10 August 2014

a new semester, a new START (Part 1 - Mindfulness)

Not long ago after a 1.5 months break, I entered my Second semester in university.

Embracing a new start is indeed a great experience for me! Imagine the joy of getting acquainted with new people -- especially those from far and wide, from all walks of life, joining clubs and societies and simply enjoying it!

I love people, and their stories.

Sometimes, it's comforting to not judge a person on surface value and truly being open to new experiences.


This semester, I decided to join more activities (as if I haven't already done so last Sem.. Hehe). Well, some may think I get too involved in too many things, including juggling a full load for the semester and also a part-time job. I agree as well, if I were to look at myself from an outsider point of view. But still, I know myself best, and I will manage effectively as much as possible, and cut down if needed.


Some things that I REALISED and LEARNED slightly prior to this semester..

1) Importance of Mindfulness

A personal reflection:
I used to think that Mindfulness, as it stems from Buddhism, it would not be good to use as I am a still-learning Christian. Certainly, this may raise questions as to saying Yes / No to the concept just as it may be for Yoga. But, think of it this way, it can be used as a skill for living a better life, wouldn't it?

So, what is mindfulness?

"Mindfulness, paying precise, nonjudgmental attention to the details of our experience as it arises and subsides, doesn't reject anything. Instead of struggling to get away from experiences we find difficult, we practice being able to be with them. Equally, we bring mindfulness to pleasant experiences as well." (Source: Psychology Today)   
I started practise basic mindfulness when I realised the fact that I get anxious easily, like the usual anxiety, previously written in Understanding Anxiety. Although it was rather mild and did not affect too much of my ability to study and go through daily life, I felt it was important to use a strategy / coping skill to better manage it.

What can you try?

It's simpler than what many thought it would be, as they think of it as an abstract concept. Basically, conscious awareness of what you feel and think and sometimes behave. You strive to live in the present, being conscious and aware and enjoy what you do daily, whether it's spending time with friends / colleagues, studying, working, running errands or even doing the (sometimes) mundane and boring house chores

Deep breathing or abdominal breathing (a part of meditation) helps a lot, I do mean a lot in calming our minds down. Practise a number of times, eg: 10 times of breathing in slowly, counting 1, 2, 3, 4; then release your breath slowly, counting 1, 2, 3, 4.  A friend suggested to me to do it in the morning right after you wake up and one more time at night before you sleep. It's very logical as the practice in the morning prepares you to face the day's activities in a more calm state whereas the one at before bedtime helps you unwind all the stresses of the day, become fully relaxed for a deep, good sleep.

How can you benefit from it?

  • Reduce anxiety, worries (as they're of things in the past or future)
  • Lower stress levels
  • Being in the present moment, enjoying every bit of treasure life experiences, good or bad
  • Happiness, notice that when you're able to be truly be there for every moment, low mood lifts and a happy person becomes happier. 
  • Be at Peace 
That's all for now. To all readers, happy meditating / practising to be mindful. 

More to come when I learn some new stuff from a Mindfulness workshop. Do check out the post!