What is Mindfulness?
‘Take notice’ is one step of the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ programme, which is designed to help improve your mental and physical health. One way of taking notice is to practice mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a technique that teaches you to take notice of the present moment, and to be aware of what’s happening in your mind, your body or your surroundings. Mindfulness and meditation originates from some of the Eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism, but you don’t have to be spiritual or have any specific beliefs to practice it.
Practicing mindfulness techniques can help you to:
- Become more aware of yourself
- Ease stress and feel calmer
- Control how you react to certain feelings
- Cope with difficult thoughts
- Be kinder to yourself.
Many people who practice mindfulness say they notice the positive effects it has in their daily lives; it really can help to improve your overall wellbeing, but it can’t solve everything. Look on the Mind website to find out if mindfulness is right for you.
Here are a couple of exercises that Mind suggest trying…
Body scan. This is where you move your attention slowly through different parts of the body, starting from the top of your head moving all the way down to the end of your toes. You could focus on feelings of warmth, tension, tingling or relaxation of different parts of your body.
Mindful eating. This involves paying attention to the taste, sight and textures of what you eat. For example, when drinking a cup of tea or coffee you could focus on how hot and liquid it feels on your tongue, how sweet it tastes or watch the steam that it gives off.
Mindful moving, walking or running. Notice the feeling of your body moving. You might notice the breeze against your skin, the feeling of your feet or hands against different textures on the ground or nearby surfaces, and the different smells that are around you.
Practice is the key word
When trying these exercises, don’t punish yourself if your mind starts to wander. Just acknowledge the thoughts without judgment, then bring your focus back to the present and start again. In time and with more practice, you should find it easier to complete the exercise.
Different techniques work for different people, so if you don’t find one exercise useful, try another. You can also try adapting them so that they suit you and are easier to fit in with your daily life.
The Mind website has lots more information about mindfulness, including helpful videos and pointers to help with your practice. Find out more.
Author: Stewart Gillespie
Posted on: 26th April 2023