How To Practice Mindfulness Health & Wellbeing
The world moves at a million miles per hour these days, and sometimes you may feel swept along with it. In the rush, it’s all too easy to forget to be present in the current moment or take a few minutes to ‘check-in’ with yourself and how you feel. Which is where mindfulness comes in.
What is mindfulness?
So, what is mindfulness and how can you use it in your everyday life?
Mindfulness is all about paying attention to what is happening right now. It’s about becoming aware of where you are and what you are doing & feeling without judgement. In short, it’s a form of meditation that is designed to help you avoid becoming overwhelmed.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Mindfulness works to improve your general well-being and mental health by helping you to savour pleasures in life as they occur and encourage you to be fully present in activities and relationships. It also supports you in your ability to cope with events that make you feel anxious or worried. In focusing on the here and now you are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or dwell on the past.
An effective stress reliever, the effects of mindfulness can also extend to your physical health. It can contribute to lower blood pressure, a reduction in chronic pain, and improved sleep if practised regularly.
How to practice mindfulness?
Before you start, there are a few things to remember when it comes to practicing mindfulness.
Firstly, it is not an advanced form of meditation intended to totally quiet your mind. The whole idea of mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, without judgement. So if you find that your mind wanders when you start practicing, that’s totally okay. All you need to do is bring your focus back to the sensations you are experiencing in the present moment to get back on track.
Secondly, there is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness. It is not about doing it right the first time or being the best at it. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you find yourself caught up in other thoughts. Be kind to yourself.
Day to day mindfulness
There are a number of ways to practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life that don’t take a lot of time or effort. Here are just a few ways:
Pay attention to the present moment
When you’re busy, and always looking to the next task or moment, it’s easy to overlook what’s happening right now. To be more mindful, take a few moments to pay attention to your body or the environment. What can you hear, feel, smell or taste at that moment?
This simple exercise, which can be done at any time, will take you out of autopilot and bring a fresh perspective to your day.
Choose a time for mindfulness
Getting into the habit of being mindful can help you to do it more often and effectively. So, when you begin, choose a time in your day and commit to practising. This could be during your commute, while you’re walking the dog, or at some point in your evening.
Give yourself the space to practice mindfulness when you can and it will soon become a positive habit you utilise throughout your day.
Get a new perspective
They say a change is as good as a rest, so don’t be afraid to shake things up in your day-to-day. If you find you always sit in the same place, try sitting somewhere different and viewing the world from that perspective. If you walk to and from places, try a different route and pay attention to your surroundings. You never know what you might notice.
Give your thoughts and feelings names
When you feel anxious, it is very easy to get caught up in the moment. A way to combat this in a mindful way is to give your thoughts and feelings names and recognise them as they come. For example, if you start to feel anxious you can recognise it (without judgement) by naming it as it comes.
When starting out, many people may find it easier to set aside a certain time of the day to be mindful. For most, this is a quiet moment that allows space and time to be present in the moment.
If you would like to do mindful meditation, here is a short practice that’s great for beginners:
- Find a place to sit that is comfortable, calm and quiet. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and you feel solid and stable in your seat. Ensure your posture is relaxed; lower your shoulders and rest your arms and hands on the top of your legs.
- Give yourself a time limit. This is particularly good for beginners who may need a bit more structure in their meditation (5-10 minutes is fine).
- Pay attention to your breath. When you are comfortable, feel your breath as you inhale and exhale. You may notice your chest or stomach rising and falling, or feel the temperature of the air as it rushes in and out of your body through your nose. Don’t try and change or regulate your breathing, just pay attention to it without judging it.
- Notice thoughts as they arise. Your mind will wander as you do this, and that’s fine. When you notice that your mind has wandered from your breathing (whenever that may be) gently guide your mind and attention back to your breath. Don’t be too harsh on yourself when this happens, it’s normal and can be easily remedied.
Do you need health & wellbeing support?
Everyone needs a little help with their health & wellbeing every now and again. Mental health, in particular, is a spectrum, and we’re all prone to dips and struggles. Asking for help is in no way a failure. In fact, it’s a positive step to finding balance and harmony in your life.
At BBO, we can help you to work towards maximising your health & wellbeing. We’ll help you identify areas where you are struggling and support you in taking steps to change it. Through our partnerships with a range of initiatives across Stafford & South Staffordshire, we can connect you with confidence building courses, relaxation and mindfulness help, animal therapy, gyms and exercises and mental health workshops.
If you need help, please give us a call or complete our online form to request a callback.