Mindfulness is a word heard everywhere at the moment, but what does it mean to be mindful, and why would you want to?
Mindfulness is focusing your attentions on the present moment; the here and now, while calmly acknowledging and accepting the feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations that arise without latching on to, or judging them.
Being mindful is a therapeutic technique can help to relieve depression, anxiety and stress. It is also proven to help attention, focus and memory. It helps us feel more in touch with ourselves, increase our confidence, and allay feelings of self doubt or ‘disconnection’. It stands to reason, therefore, that the more present we become, the better we feel.
Before you start to think that this is easier said than done, consider this: you were born mindful. Being present is innate, it is not exotic or obscure, and you already do it all the time. Concentrating on this technique, with more awareness, will make a difference to your sense of well-being.
There is a huge resource available on the subject of mindfulness, techniques, tips and meditations. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by all of the information out there, start with this simple trick:
Keep ‘pulling’ your mind into the present throughout your day. If you struggle to do this at first, try setting an alarm on your phone to beep every hour (during waking hours only, this is meant to be good for you after all!) – When the alarm goes off, take a second to bring yourself into the here and now.
Ask yourself: what am I doing? How does it make me feel?
Don’t judge your emotions, just observe them. You may well find that within a week of doing this you have multiple insights about yourself and your lifestyle (e.g. I hate my job! I love spending time with children! I’m always snacking!!)
If the act of mindfulness improves your quality of life, consider this: the most present, and contented people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting tend to do two things with regularity (and almost always at the beginning of their day), they meditate, and they take exercise. How either of these things look to you is a matter of personal preference, but fitting them in, without doubt, will pay dividends.