I spent a drizzly Saturday afternoon in February at Manchester Central, attending Mindful Living show. I’ve very recently discovered mindfulness and am learning of its benefits. I think it’s something that can certainly contribute to a calmer, more peaceful life if you choose to practice it.
I’ve attended many of these types shows over the years, hosted in a large exhibition centre and crowded with people. The hustle and bustle of them can be overwhelming and the sheer volume of people can be off putting when you’re trying to see what exhibitors have to offer but can’t get to the stands due to the crowds. I really wasn’t sure how The Mindful Living Show could be hosted in a space as large as this yet promote something as calm as mindfulness.
I arrived around an hour and a half after the show began and so didn’t experience any crowds or queuing. Speaking with a couple of visitors who had been there from 10am though, both ladies said that gaining entry on time hadn’t been at all problematic.
There were no crowds, yet the venue felt full enough. The only queue I saw was the lunch queue!
Mindful Living Show was being held in several rooms. The main exhibition hall showcased stallholders, The Experience area, the Mindfulness Cafe and a small area for meditation or relaxation.
There was a low hum throughout the hall but it wasn’t of a level that could be deemed as ‘noisy’ at all. The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming; the people on each stand helpful and supportive.
Dene Donalds: Mindfulness for anxiety and depression.
Dene has a very welcoming demeanour. He began his talk by ‘inviting the bell’, something I hadn’t heard of before. Then he invited the audience to partake in a short breathing exercise, which left me feeling very calm and relaxed. Dene spoke of his work in prisons, which was genuinely interesting stuff! He went on to say that mindfulness is for all religions and none, and explained how to be more mindful of the everyday.
The talk continued with some tips for dealing with issues, like returning to the now, being present, accepting what is without judgement, embracing and nurturing feelings (and yourself), building on the good emotions and weakening the bad… and actually lots more besides.
Anna Parker-Naples: Mindfulness for busy parents
Anna was so easy to relate to as a fellow busy parent that I immediately warmed to her.
I sometimes feel that I have a crazy busy life and that nobody really understands where I’m coming from, but Anna’s story about her friend had me nodding along in agreement. I came away from Anna’s talk convinced that I am never really too busy to take just three minutes of my day to collect my thoughts and kind of regroup my thoughts.
Anna had us list ways to take time out and asked us to keep that list in a visible place, just to serve as a subtle reminder that we ought to be taking care of ourselves as well as others. We learned more about how to be conscious of how we use ‘me’ time, to focus on our breathing and just slow down a little.
I definitely came away feeling more able to handle my every day commitments.
There were so many amazing people at Mindful Living Show that really I would struggle to single any out. I did buy quite a few items though so I’ll put those in another post next week. There was so much advice on hand from real experts in the fields of not only mindfulness but general mental health. Mindful Living Show was genuinely an uplifting event and has almost certainly changed the way I look at some aspects of my life.
I would wholeheartedly recommend visiting this show the next time it comes around. There is one other event this year, down in London. If you like, you can take a look at the details of that on the website.
Thank you once again to the organisers of Mindful Living Show for inviting me. It was really, very enjoyable.