Mindfulness: What Is It and How Can It Benefit Me?

calm

Daily life can be highly stressful and it’s all too easy to get caught up in worries and stresses. This can be second nature for many of us but there is a way to counteract it and take back control.

The concept of mindfulness has become increasingly trendy over the last couple of years due to the potential benefits for mental health but many people are still unsure as to what it’s all about and what they could gain from it. In this post, we’re looking at mindfulness in more detail and highlighting how it can help your wellbeing.

What is Mindfulness?

In a nutshell, mindfulness is based on the idea of immersing yourself in the present moment and being very aware of sights, sounds, tastes and other sensations.

How Mindfulness Can Improve Wellbeing

Being “in the moment” is something that many of us don’t do because we’re so caught up in our thoughts. Mindfulness helps to retrain our thought patterns so that the mind wanders less and you have more control over your thinking.

Mindfulness has its roots in ancient Buddhism but is fast becoming part of mainstream society.  It is increasingly used as part of treatment for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and OCD.

Some of the main benefits of mindfulness include:

  • Being able to enjoy life more rather than being caught up with worries

  • Greater resilience

  • Lower stress levels

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Improved sleep patterns

How to Engage in Mindfulness

It’s crucial not to fight against your thoughts. Once you have got “in the present”, it’s fine to observe how you feel but these thoughts and feelings should then just be allowed to happen. The key is to accept feelings and experiences without letting them dictate to you. It’s only natural that your mind will wander off in different directions and you’ll then need to guide your thoughts and focus back to the present moment.

One of the most important things about mindfulness is the ability to stay in the present. At its most basic, this can be done by focusing on your breathing and noticing how your body feels as you breathe in and out. Notice how this affects your sensations.

Examples of Mindfulness

There are lots of opportunities to engage in mindfulness in day-to-day life:

  • Walking: A peaceful walk is an ideal chance to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nature.

  • Focused Breathing: If you’re not breathing properly, your mind is unlikely to be calm. Spending a bit of time regulating your breathing is a key element of mindfulness. It’s inevitable that some thoughts will come into your head but the crucial part is to stay focused on your breathing. Meditation doesn’t have to be included in mindfulness but practising this regularly can reduce stress and improve wellbeing.

  • During everyday tasks: Even day-to-day tasks such as brushing your teeth and taking a shower can be ideal opportunities to be aware of tastes and smells. Everyday tasks should be completed slowly and not rushed through so that the sensations that they evoke can be drawn out and savoured.

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