During all the upheaval we have experienced, it is easy to feel low, anxious, or out of sorts with the world. In this useful article we will take a look at some Mindfulness techniques to help you regain some perspective.
What is Mindfulness?
According to Mind, Mindfulness is a technique, with its roots in Buddhism, which helps you to focus on what is happening in the here and now, with the aim of helping you to:
- Become self-aware
- Feel calmer and less stressed
- Feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings
- Cope with difficult and unhelpful thoughts
- Be kinder towards yourself
The main thing to bear in mind when starting to employ mindfulness as a technique to help you cope with life, is that it isn’t an instant fix and will take time and practice to master. The NHS state: “Reminding yourself to take notice of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the world around you is the first step to mindfulness.”
When you practice Mindfulness, you will be able to experience life in a much more positive manner and start appreciating things which you would otherwise have taken for granted. You can use mindfulness techniques in many of your day-to-day activities.
Mindfulness When Eating or Drinking
Whilst having a meal or drinking, focus on the taste, sight, texture and smells of what you are eating or drinking. Spend time, just in that moment, to savour the taste, the feel of the heat from the food, or the crunch when chewing. Try to emphasise in your mind the feel of the food or drink in your mouth or as you swallow it.
Mindfulness When Exercising
This doesn’t simply mean when working out at the gym or running or cycling but also when simply getting out and about for a walk. Rather than pondering on your thoughts or thinking about what you are having for dinner, focus on the feel of the wind or the sun on your skin, the colours surrounding you or the different smells that you can sense. In essence, try to lose yourself in the nature that is surrounding you.
When you spend time on your hobbies, no matter what they are, focus on the minute elements of each aspect of your hobby. If you love painting, then focus on the feel of the brush stroke or the smell of the paints you are using. If you like reading, focus on the feel of the pages or the noise they make when you turn the page. If you are a gardener, listen to the noises around you or the way your plants sway in the wind or even the moisture in the soil.
As well as incorporating Mindfulness into your daily routine you can try a few Mindfulness Techniques. As well as making you more self-aware they are wonderfully relaxing.
Get yourself into a comfortable seated position, pay attention to the sounds you can hear, sensations you can feel, or how your body feels. Relax tensed muscles and breathe deeply. If your mind wanders bring it back to the aspect you were focusing on. Mind Matters have a wonderful YouTube video tutorial sharing with you a very simple but very effective breathing exercise that will help you grasp this concept.
Take some time to focus on yourself by turning your attention to how you breathe, the touch of your clothes on your skin. Start at your head and work down, focus on areas that might feel tense and consciously try to relax. Becoming body aware will allow you to spot when you are tense and allow you to work on that tension.
Try to set side regular time to practice Mindfulness and make sure you are comfortable. Remember to be kind to yourself and be patient with your progress. Mind have a wealth of useful advice on Mindfulness exercises which can be viewed here.
Mindfulness is not an instant fix for everything but, by putting the distractions of the world to one side, even for short periods of time and focusing on the nuances of the here and now, you can certainly help bring things back into perspective and start seeing some positivity and joy in the world.