Mindfulness is different to meditation, in that rather than ‘cutting your thinking mind off’, you simply focus on the task. Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh used to say mindfulness was ‘washing the dishes, the wash the dishes’. In other words, don’t spend the time washing the dishes thinking about everything else! Just focus on that moment in time.
It’s proven that mindfulness is a great help to people who get stressed. If you try to focus on the present moment, you’ll find that you worry less about what has happened in the past, and then what may happen in the future. You can’t change the past. And you can’t predict the future. One person once wrote that on his deathbed, he had spent most of his life worrying about problems ‘that had never happened!’
A Year of Living Mindfully is a beautifully illustrated guide by mindfulness teacher Anna Black. Use the weekly activities to enjoy a more relaxing life. Progress at your own pace t o build emotional resilience, in the same way that exercise improves physical fitness. Learn how to handle difficult emotions and don’t be hijacked by experiences.
Mindfulness on the Go is also by Anna Black. Find 52 suggestions to use each day. These mini-meditations are ideal for when you are out and about. By focusing on one thing per day, it’s easier to remember, rather than just feeling that you should be mindful all the time. Eventually you will begin to feel mindful, without prompts. Mindfulness will simply become part of your daily routine.
Mindfulness @ Work is also by Anna. By applying mindfulness to our working lives, we can become aware of habitual negative thoughts and behaviours, and manage the warning signs of stress. Learn how to switch off from digital media and get back to mindfulness and meditation, to cope with stressful situations, and colleagues who push your buttons
Mindful Walking is a delightful guide on how getting from one place to another with your feet, is one of the best ways to practice mindfulness. Walking in nature is even better, as it nurtures our soil. Learn about inspirational ways to take a walk from forest-bathing (strolling through wooded areas), earthing (walking barefoot in the mud) and embracing friluftsliv (the Norwegian philosophy of enjoying the outdoors).
Nomaste: The Mindful Plant-Based Kitchen is a lovely little guide, inspired by the yoga phrase Namaste, that means ‘I bow to the Divine in you’. This is a respectful prayer of thanks for delicious, nutritious and just plain yummy food. Beautifully illustrated, the book looks at how ahimsa (non-violence) and Ayurveda (food as medicine) can go together beautifully in the kitchen, with 60 wholesome plant-based recipes that leave you filled with good food and gratitude.
Many foods are toxic to animal friends, so keep these recipes away from nosey paws. If making your own pasta, keep fresh dough away from pets (it can expand in the stomach) and never use xylitol (a sweetener that can be lethal, if licked).
- The Yogic Kitchen: Mindful shopping & eating, organic food, reducing waste, drinks recipes, a stress-free kitchen
- Good Morning! Morning meditations, breakfast recipes, breathing techniques, smoothies
- Lunchtime: Mindfulness exercises, lunchtime recipes for home & on the go, self-massage, dips
- Mindful Snacking: A healthy snacking mindset, sweet & savoury snack recipes, the six tastes
- Evening Meals: Dinnertime rituals, mindful cooking, a world of plants, delicious dinner recipes, food meditations, bedtime rituals
- The Mindful Art of Food Preparation: bread-making, sourdough, raw vs cooked food, homemade pasta, decorative food
- An Ayurvedic Garden: growing your own, foraging, foraging recipes, re-growing food. See how to make your garden safe for pets, to know toxic plants etc to avoid.
Miranda Moore writes and works as a freelance editor and journalist in the Scottish Borders. She is trained in forest school and loves wild places, photography, music and beautiful food. She has a Masters in International Peace Studies and was shortlisted for the Scottish Book Trust News Writers Awards.