What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply a method of mental training. A technique involving paying attention to the present moment. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that, instead of being overwhelmed by them, we are better able to manage them.
Mindfulness can help us in many ways, including:
- Feeling less overwhelmed
- Increasing positive thoughts about how you think and feel
- Helping to manage stressful situations
- Thinking more clearly when making decisions
- Reducing anxiety
- Reducing depression
- Reducing stress
- Taking time for yourself
- Reducing worry
- Becoming more self aware
- Feeling calmer in difficult situations
Take a look at this video from Mind, the Mental Health Charity on ‘What is Mindfulness?’
Mindfulness can be done anywhere at anytime, you don’t even need to be sitting down, you can also practise it when walking to work or on the train/bus.
How does mindfulness work?
According to Mind, the way we think (and what we think about) can affect how we feel and act. For example, if you think or worry a lot about upsetting past or future events, you might often feel sad or anxious.
The theory behind mindfulness is that by using various techniques to bring your attention to the present (usually focusing on your body and your breathing), you can:
- Notice how thoughts come and go in your mind. You may learn that they don’t have to define who you are, or your experience of the world, and you can let go of them.
- Notice what your body is telling you. For example, tension or anxiety can often be felt in your body (such as in a fast heartbeat, tense muscles or shallow breathing).
- Create space between you and your thoughts, so you can react more calmly.
There are many websites and apps that provide guided meditation and also links on YouTube. Here are some examples:
Headspace – 10 free sessions: https://www.headspace.com
Calm – free trial: https://www.calm.com
Insight Timings – free sessions: https://insighttimer.com/meditation-app
For further information on the apps, take a look at our Mindfulness Apps blog.