What Is Mindfulness?
What is mindfulness?
In a nutshell, mindfulness is noticing and being aware of things that are going on around us. Life can be so busy sometimes that we just don’t feel connected to anything and that can be really hard on our mental health. You may not even realise that this has happened, but you may notice low mood or anxiety. Practicing mindfulness can help with these feelings and emotions.
How can it help us?
Being more aware of ourselves and our surroundings can help us enjoy life more and fully experience things that we might be taking for granted.
Simple exercises to try:
There are all kinds of mindfulness exercises that we can do.
One is a mindful tea break. You can feel how an empty mug feels in your hands, notice the colours and shapes of the mug or cup. Notice the sounds of water being poured into the kettle and it boiling. How hot water sounds different when being poured compared to cold water. Feel the warmth of the mug of tea in our hands, what does it smell like? When cool enough, how does the warm tea feel as you drink it, does it make you feel warm inside, how many tastes can you identify?
Another is a mindful body scan. You can do this sitting in a chair or lying on the floor or on a mat. It is important that you can feel the connection between your body and the chair or the floor. Start at your feet and slowly work your way to your head, seeing what sensations you can feel in your ankles, calves, knees, thighs etc. Being so connected to how your body is feeling can help you feel more relaxed and at peace.
The most important thing is that you do this with compassion. If you feel pain in your body, try not to blame yourself, rather notice it and tell yourself it’s not your fault.
Have you ever noticed how you talk to yourself? Often we are very hard on ourselves when we make a mistake or have a bad day, but the way we talk to ourselves can have a huge impact on our mood, the way we interact with others and our self esteem. If you can notice negative thoughts, you can stop, reflect and see if you can respond in a more self compassionate way.
For more information please visit the NHS website here.
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