Understanding Mindfulness: Calming the Chaos in our Mind, Body, and Soul

Editor’s note: This is the first in a five-part series on the topic of mindfulness in the salon, courtesy of Jeri Mallow, aka The Mindful Manicurist. See the other posts here.  

Mindfulness is viewed by many as a new buzzword, but the concept has actually been around for thousands of years. It does not solely reside within Buddhism or Hinduism, but also in non-religious practices like yoga as well as in other religions such as Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. In a world where people are aching to be more aware of self-care and a deeper care of others, mindfulness can be a solution to many needs. 

mind·ful·ness (ˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs)

noun:

  1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
  2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Source: Webster’s Dictionary

 

My quest for a way to practice mindfulness in my nail salon started a few years ago with a comment from my daughter, who is a licensed psychotherapist. I imagined it would involve sitting in a Zen garden, breathing deeply and wearing a beige cloth robe (with pink glitter nails, of course). It is so much more than just sitting in one spot and breathing (even though that is one aspect) or solely about meditation, but a collection of multiple mindfulness practices that bring forth a huge peaceful, positive twist to a normally chaotic environment. 

So what does mindfulness look like? It would be easy to simply list five practices and be done, but mindfulness practices are endless. From washing dishes to being in traffic to doing a pedicure, mindfulness starts with any activity. In the next few weeks, we will dive into how to use mindfulness in the nail salon. 

And just like when we recommend cuticle oil to our clients, remember it works only if you use it! 

Each week we will visit a different area of the salon that could use some mindfulness and practice a few mindful activities. And just like when we recommend cuticle oil to our clients, remember it works only if you use it! These practices can decrease stress, remove chaos, and slow the endless chatter our restless minds like to create. 

Let's start with one challenge this week. Right now, sit up straight, relax your shoulders, relax your jaw. Take a deep breath through your nose and let it out slowly through your mouth, but pucker your lips as if you have a straw in between them. Just sit in this quietness for two minutes, breathing in slowly while thinking of how your breath feels.

How do your shoulders feel now that they are relaxed? Were you clenching your jaw muscles and didn't even know it? That's OK! How did it feel to relax them? How does it feel to breathe deeply and slowly? If it's uncomfortable, be kind to yourself and tell yourself it’s OK.  Practice it for one minute, if two minutes are too hard right now. It will get easier. Check in with yourself a few times today with this practice. You’ve got this!

Next week, we’ll continue with Mindful Eating: Calming the Chaos in the Break Room.

Jeri Mallow
<p>Jeri Mallow</p>

 

Nail tech Jeri Mallow is the owner of Hartford, Wis.-based Nail Essentials and Inspire Nail Academy. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @nailessentials and Instagram @nailessentialhartfordwi.

 

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