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The Art of Being Mindful

Mindfulness has become a buzzword in the wellness world. 

It’s a form of meditation which helps you to be “in the moment”. 

The article provides an overview of what mindfulness is and how it might help you. 

What is Mindfulness 

Most of us can relate to the fact that our mind is constantly whirring. 

When you are not focused on something, your thoughts can become muddled and you may not be aware of what you are thinking. 

Put simply, mindfulness is about being fully present and in the moment. It’s a form of meditation that enables us to recognise and deal with emotions and physical sensations without reacting to them. 

Mindfulness awakens us to being in the ‘here and now’. For example, it encourages you to observe and acknowledge the flowers we pass when walking down a street. When we are mindful, we will see them, touch them and smell them as we pass and experience total awareness of the flowers we observe.

Professor Mark Williams says: “It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour.”

Mindfulness is derived from Buddhist and Hinduism traditions and its practice and benefits have been adopted by Western cultures in recent years. 

The Modern World

In the western world, stress and materialism appear to dominate. 

People are beginning to understand the importance of finding ways to slow their pace, and become more grounded as a whole. 

People who practice mindfulness regularly have reported feeling calmer, more connected, and generally experience a greater sense of inner fulfilment overall. Incorporating mindfulness in treatment has also been known to help improve mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression as well as physical health conditions and  chronic pain

How Mindfulness Helps the Mind and Body

Research now shows a correlation between the digestive system and anxiety, and emotional trauma is known to impact the structure and function of the brain and nervous system. 

By incorporating self-help techniques such as mindfulness exercises into our daily life, not only can we cope more effectively with everyday pressures, it can help us to deal with health ailments that are affecting us.

Introducing Mindfulness Practice Exercises

Here are some examples of mindfulness-based interventions that you may wish to try. 

The following is a great introductory exercise for beginners to start practicing mindfulness.

Take any kind of food such as a raisin and pretend you have never seen a raisin before. Switch off all background distractions such as music, screens and TVs. Pay careful attention to:

  • The way the raisin looks
  • How it feels
  • It’s smell
  • It’s taste

Focusing on a single object such as a raisin brings your mind to the present and to the object right in front of you. By focusing purely on the present moment of the raisin you are unlikely to worry or think about other parts of your life.

This article here offers further suggestions for ways to incorporate mindfulness into busy lives. Ideas include: taking a mindful walk at lunchtime, savouring your morning coffee, slowing down before sleep and practicing mindful eating.  

There isn’t one single correct way of practicing mindfulness. It is simply a matter of finding the right mindfulness exercises that suits your needs and incorporating it into your daily life.

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