Health and wellbeing are ever-important topics of conversation; how can we improve our wellbeing and overall physical and mental health? How can we maintain a healthy lifestyle? What are some tips and tricks to keep our minds healthy and our emotions positive? Perhaps now more than ever, for our current generations, health and wellbeing concerns are especially poignant now, in this time of the world.
Experts say the practice of mindfulness can make a big difference to our wellbeing and our general sense of calm, clarity and optimism in our lives; something many of us are craving, especially now.
It’s a word that’s been circulating in psychology, health and meditation fields for quite some time, and if it’s something you’ve thought about, perhaps now is the time. Let’s face it, we could certainly all do with a little more half-glass-full in our lives at the moment.
Adelaide-based mindfulness expert, teacher and psychologist, Liana Taylor, says mindfulness is something anyone can implement to positively impact your mental state and wellbeing now, and into the future. “There’s something really nice about doing something practical and personal for yourself at this time in the world,” she says.
The director at The Mindfulness Centre in Hyde Park (South Australia), Liana is also an international mindfulness teacher with The Australian Institute of Applied Mindfulness. In essence – she’s a mindfulness guru. We had a chat with her about what it really means, how it can help you, and why escaping into nature, and taking the time out in one of our self-contained cabins, could be super-duper good for what ails you.
“Mindfulness is fundamentally about awareness,” she says, “both of what is around you and what is inside of you.” She says many people come to the concept to assist them to relax, unwind and “quieten the chatter of the mind.”
If you’re an over-thinker, a worry-wart or a bit of a ruminator of things gone-by, Liana says mindfulness could be just the thing for you. “It is a practice that ensures you pay attention to the present moment…it brings you back into the sensory world and back to your emotions, instantly calming you.”
While calm and clarity are commonly associated with mindfulness, what many don’t know, is that the practice is also geared to increasing our awareness of self and our general optimism. “Step one is about becoming calm, step two is about gaining clarity and insight into our thoughts, and step three is about how to develop greater insight into and reconnect with our core values and purpose, how to feel optimistic and inspired about your life.”
Planning getaways, either solo or with loved ones, can be a great way to look forward in an optimistic manner, and become inspired, particularly in times like now. It can also be a great way to experience a sense of calm, and practice mindfulness. “When you look at holidays, experiencing beautiful things and having time to relax really calms your mind,” Liana says. “You get to really feel the beauty of what is around you.”
All this conscious thought, and being in the present, appreciating the ‘now’, is part of the practice of mindfulness. Liana says that while mindfulness is a practice that’s important in all parts of life, holiday or regular schedule, often taking the time out from your ‘normal’ daily activities can be the stop-gap you need to reset the mind.
“It is true that when you go away on holidays, you do get some perspective and gain some clarity. Particularly when you are in a quiet space, it can really give you the opportunity to drop quite deeply into meditation,” Liana says. “Science shows us that when people do that, they go into a deeper space of consciousness than sleep, so it’s incredibly physically and emotionally rejuvenating.”
There’s also evidence that going ‘back to basics’, reconnecting with nature, and being away from the hustle and bustle of city life, can assist in our ability to be mindful, and positive in our mental state. “There is a whole lot of neuroscience that shows us that the body actually calms down when it is around natural sounds and the green of nature. Physiologically, it is a wired response.”
So, why not swap your morning coffee commute for a sit by the fire, a recline on the deck with a book, or a morning snuggled in bed, with nothing but you and the birds, and the gentle wind through the trees?
While you’re there, try one of the many mindfulness meditations available online, to walk you through the steps of breathing, listening and simply being in the present moment. The Australian Institute of Applied Mindfulness runs a range of free online meditations available on their website here.
With a range of tiny cabins available to book in South Australia and Victoria, CABN can whisk you and your mind away, into the beauty of the Aussie landscape. Do your own mind a favour or help someone, who really needs a break, disconnect to reconnect with an ultimate ‘choose your own CABN adventure’ gift voucher here.
Credit: Thanks to Liana Taylor for taking the time to be interviewed for this blog on behalf of the whole CABN community.