Mindfulness: January

At the beginning of 2015 I wrote a post on practicing a mentally healthy approach to life. I mentioned a pocket-sized book – 365 Days of Mindfulness by Yvette Jane – that provides a mindfulness tip for every day of the year. I’m loving it and it’s keeping me focused on taking control of my thoughts, so I thought I’d share one of my favourite tips at the end of every month.

January’s tips covered everything from feeding birds and buying crystals to changing your posture and slowing down. I’d love to say I did as I was told on every single day but, I didn’t. I didn’t buy a crystal and I didn’t feed birds because, who am I kidding, I’m never going to be the girl that buys crystals and feed birds. But, here’s something I did do.

Notice how you feel while watching a television programme.
Become more conscious of what you choose to watch.

This is something I’m really bad at. I sit down to watch TV, pick up my laptop, browse my phone and – if I’m being really ridiculous – I’ll have my tablet with me too. I know how insane this is, but I also know I’m not the only one who spends their evenings in this way. My laptop commonly has six or seven tabs open at one time and I’ll be working on a blog post at the same time as keeping in touch with friends and running my social media pages for this blog and BEFSA.

Whilst I’m pottering away on the internet, I’m nearly always watching TV. And it’s never rubbish TV… I mean, obviously I watch rubbish TV but I don’t flick my way through a hundred channels watching ad-hoc TV programmes. We’re complete binge-watching box-set addicts so we find a new series and watch episodes back to back each night. And, like clockwork, we’ll get part-way through the first episode of the evening before I get shouted at for not paying attention! And I insist that I am, I really am. But, let’s be honest… I’m not. I’m missing facial expressions or important actions that contribute to the story. I’m missing atmospheric build-up and the development of relationships. I get the gist but it’s not the experience it should be. And if I’m really focused on my laptop, I don’t even get the gist.

You can see why this mindfulness task really spoke to me, so I was keen to give it a try. I put down my laptop (and the mindfulness book I was flicking through!) and watched a full episode of Rectify – the first original series from Sundance TV. And, having paid attention and watched every minute, I decided it was rubbish and picked up my laptop again. Still, at least I gave my mind a proper break and watched enough to know it was rubbish.

Funnily enough, whilst writing this post we’re watching Silent Witness. My boyfriend just said, “Well this isn’t a very nice episode, is it?” I replied, “No, not really.” I have no idea what he’s talking about. Ooops.

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