What is Mindfulness?
· The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
· 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.
It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour
An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means ‘waking up’ to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a handle when opening a window. Mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment.
Mindfulness allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience, and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful.
Mindfulness teaches us to stand back from our thoughts and start to see their patterns. We can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over and realise that they are simply just ‘mental events’ that do not have to control us.
Benefits of using Mindfulness:
Regular mindfulness practice is believed to help further psychological insight and emotional healing, over time. Mindfulness-based interventions, are generally aimed at relieving symptoms of stress, mental health concerns, and physical pain, it can be used to address and treat a range of symptoms and concerns.
Mindfulness is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a way to prevent depression in people who have had three or more bouts of depression in the past.
How mindfulness helps mental wellbeing,
Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. When we become more aware of the present moment, we begin to experience things afresh that we have been taking for granted. Most of us have issues that we find hard to let go of and mindfulness can help us deal with them more productively. Awareness also helps us notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and helps us deal with them better.
How to be more Mindful
· Reminding yourself to take notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first step to mindfulness.
· Notice each day: As we go about our daily lives, we can notice the sensations of things, like the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink. These sound like unimportant things but by taking notice we can then interrupt the autopilot mode we normally engage in each day and allow us a new perspective on life.