What is Mindfulness?
Put simply, mindfulness means being in the moment. Do you ever get home and realise you don’t remember your journey? Do you sometimes find yourself caught up in your own thoughts and paying little attention to the look, feel, smell and sound of what’s going on around you? Don’t we all!
Mindfulness seeks to take us out of our own thoughts to focus on what’s happening right at this moment. It is believed that shifting our perspective to the present can help us combat anxiety.
Is mindfulness a kind of meditation?
Yes, mindfulness is a sort of simple meditation, but it doesn’t have to involve sitting cross-legged, humming or closing your eyes. It’s more a way of thinking that can have a meditative effect. If you want to sit and close your eyes you by all means can, but equally you can practise mindfulness anytime, anywhere.
How do I learn to practise mindfulness?
Imagine you’re sitting on a train. It’s busy, stuffy and you just want to get where you’re going. The worries of your working week are swirling around your mind. Time to try a little mindfulness exercise.
First, focus on your breathing. As you breathe out, let your thoughts escape too. Focus on your senses. Can you feel the sun on your face? What does the armrest feel like? What can you see? What’s the motion of the train like?
It really is that simple. As you start to shift your perspective into the present moment, things will start to feel different. You may find your worries melting away, giving you some respite from them.
Once you’ve tried mindfulness a few times, it will become a way of thinking rather than a conscious effort.
Is mindfulness good for you?
Mindfulness can help tackle anxiety and stress, and improve your mood. Have you ever looked at an object from a different angle and found it looks completely different? Well, mindfulness is a way of looking at things from a different angle. Grounding yourself in the physical world may give you new ideas on how to solve problems, as well as providing some peace from your own thoughts.
But don’t get too caught up in the end goal. Mindfulness isn’t about success or failure. It’s like eating a big bowl of vegetables – you can’t expect it to make you instantly healthy. But just like healthy food, a little regular mindfulness will, over time, contribute to better wellbeing.