Mindfulness seems to be a phrase that has been floating around recently and can be hard to understand. In basic terms, mindfulness refers to the state of being conscious or aware of something this could be our achievements, our feelings or our thoughts.
How can mindfulness help?
Mindfulness can help to increase our awareness of who we are. According to Mind.org, it allows us to be more in touch with our thoughts and feelings and thus manage unhelpful thoughts. By developing more helpful responses to difficult feelings and events, mindfulness can encourage us to be more positive and remain focused. Managing our stress and feeling calmer can lead to higher productivity and feel kinder about ourselves.
But how do we practice mindfulness?
Keep it regular – try and pick a time each day, perhaps on your morning journey to work or take an afternoon walk around your local area. During this time you can have time to think, clear your mind and become aware of the world around you. It may seem a little silly at first but by allotting time to be alone and process your thoughts you can find yourself feeling lighter and more positive.
Be conscious of your thoughts.
Mindfulness isn’t about eradicating your negative thoughts or banishing them altogether. Ignoring negative thoughts won’t make them go away. Instead, it encourages us to think about those things we find difficult, to process them and thus feel better in the long run.
Some people find it easier if they take up yoga, meditation or walking whilst practicing mindfulness. An over-busy mind can benefit from a break and the use of a more formal setting can ensure that we make time to practice mindfulness. Yoga and tai-chi work well as they encourage us to pay attention to our thoughts, sounds and the sensations of breathing.
There is a great deal of stigma surrounding the notion of meditation, yoga and even mindfulness. These things are perceived to be "up in the air" ideas to help our mental health. It is suggested, however, these things can allow us to feel a sense of inner peace and calmness like no other. Mindfulness can work brilliantly for upcoming exams, deadlines in work or for anyone who considers themselves an over-thinker. Give it a try and see if you notice a change in how you deal with stressful situations and negative thoughts easier!