Yesterday evening, on our way home, Noah and I stopped to see our friend Steph. She had not long arrived home from work and she was lying on her sofa watching TV. It was just about to start raining and so going out didn’t seem that appealing and that was her way to relax.
When people are surveyed about what they do to relax one of the top answers is always “watch TV’. I think the reason that it works for so well for people is that it takes their mind off their worries. Focusing on another persons life takes their attention off our own problems. This approach of changing your focus works with a good programme and it really works in real life too. Try doing something to help another person out, you will soon realise how great it feels. Just that shift in attention away from yourself and onto another is all it takes to make you feel good.
Sometimes it is really good to be able to just sit without any distraction. If something is worrying us it can be difficult even to get engaged with the telly. Even if we do get into the TV zone, too much TV can get our minds buzzing.
Watching TV right up until bedtime can make getting to sleep difficult. Swapping from watching TV to doing something that requires focus and attention can also be difficult. Having an easy technique to calm your mind post TV can be really useful.
Meditation is a great way to teach your mind to be calm and to learn to enjoy peace and quiet. The real bonus is that you can do it anywhere. Your don’t need electricity, you don’t need any equipment. You are free just to do it whenever you get a spare minute during your day. It’s great at work, at home, in a waiting room or when you get home from work before you begin your evening. When ever you feel you mind running away with you this exercise will be great.
To get started in your mindful lifestyle set a timer for 5 minutes and try this…
1) Sit in a chair with a straight back
2) Close your eyes
3) Observe your breath, don’t interfere, just watch it – just like you would the TV. Be genuinely interested in it and keep your attention there.
4) Each time your mind wanders gently bring your attention back to your breath. Don’t tell yourself off, be pleased that you noticed the distraction.
Note how you feel. Calm, quiet and settled? Try and add some moments like this into your daily life and you really will see a difference quite quickly. It is so easy and yet so effective. I love it.
So I think there is room for TV and for meditating in our lives. They both provide an escape and they both can be really enjoyable. Recognising when a bit of quiet would do you some good is a great start to mindful living.
Come on a Mindfulness Day Retreat in Leicestershire with Revitalise Days and see how a day of calm could completely change the way you think.