Stop and just…be…
How often have you done that over the last week, the last month or the last year?
Probably not as much as you’d like to have done, right? Maybe because you’ve just been too busy to think about it, let alone do it. Or perhaps because you’re not on the mindfulness wavelength just yet.
Taking a few minutes, few seconds even, to stop and pay attention to the present moment, the here and now, can be extremely beneficial to your overall wellbeing. In fact, mindfulness is being widely used in an increasing number of ways to:
✔️ Help cope with mental health issues
✔️ Improve concentration in schools
✔️ Reduce anxiety during pregnancy
✔️ Minimise workplace stressAnd the beauty of it is, people of all ages, adults, children and young people, can all benefit from mindfulness.1
How to practice mindfulness
So, we’ve covered some of the benefits (of which there are many) of being mindful above. But what does mindful actually mean? What does mindfulness involve?
Being mindful means seeing the present moment clearly. This involves really tuning into your body, inside and out, and what you are thinking and feeling at that precise moment in time.
For instance, what can you see, what can you hear, what can you smell and what can you taste? If you’re walking through a field, what’s happening all around you – how do your feet feel on the ground, what noises are around you, how is your body responding to the environment? How are you breathing – fast or slow? Do you feel alert, calm or anxious?
How to be mindful – in 5 steps
STEP 1: Mindful breathingFocus your attention on your breathing. When you breath in, focus on it being your in breath and when you breath out, focus on it being your out breath.
STEP 2: Mindful concentration
Think about nothing else but your breathing. Think about the depth of your breath, from the moment you inhale to the moment you exhale. Don’t let your mind wander off and think about anything else.
STEP 3: Mindful body awareness
As you breathe in and out, think about how your body feels in connection with your breathing. Don’t think about them separately, but as one. How do your lungs feel, your back, your stomach?....
STEP 4: Mindful tension releasing
When you are truly aware of your body, it’s possible to detect any stress that may be present. Taking a minute or two to follow steps 1 and 2 can help you deal with and release tension.
STEP 5: Mindful walking meditationMindful walking involves fully appreciating and embracing your walk. Enjoy your breathing and the senses and sights that are all around you and let yourself be fully absorbed by the experience.2
How to be more mindful
One of the great things about mindfulness is that you can embrace it as little or as much as you want to, whenever and wherever you want to.There are certain things you can do to be more mindful too. We’ve listed some of them below:3
- Try and incorporate it into your everyday tasks - such as brushing your teeth or having a shower. The more you do it, the more it’ll become second nature and easier to apply to the rest of your life
- Start doing it from the moment you wake up – it’ll help set the tone for the rest of your day
- Do short bursts of it – our brains happen to respond better to short bursts of mindfulness
- Practice mindful waiting – if you’re stuck in a queue, use it as an opportunity to focus on your breathing
- Be mindful while you eat – mindful eating involves being mindful when we’re eating. So, being conscious of how things taste and their texture, your motive for eating (genuinely hungry or comfort eating) and how your body responds to what you’re eating and drinking, besides many other things.
Last updated: 20 August 2020