Last month on the blog, in our post about Stress Busting Tips, we touched on the some mindfulness exercises, and how they can provide relief from stress in the short term.
This month, we’re exploring the topic more deeply, looking at how living in the present, and paying more attention to what’s happening around you, and your thoughts and feelings can deliver significant improvements to mental wellbeing.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness can best be described as a way of being more aware of the present moment, so that we can understand and control our our current thoughts, feelings and emotions better.
In the modern world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, and to forget to embrace the present – losing touch of the way we are feeling, and living in our heads.
Mindfulness means knowing exactly what’s going on, both inside our bodies and minds, and in the world around us, moment by moment.
In practice, this means making an effort to taking notice of the sounds, smells, sights and taste of the present moment, taking time to be aware of what it is to be alive, and allowing ourselves to live in the present.
The benefits of mindfulness
In addition to serving as a great coping strategy to deal with stress, being more mindful can deliver a huge number of benefits to mental health and wellbeing.
By becoming more aware of the present, our emotions, and the world we are experiencing now, we can start to enjoy life more, becoming increasingly aware of our feelings and what is affecting them, so that we can make positive changes.
Practicing mindfulness exercises can help you to:
• Understand your own emotions better
• Boost attention and concentration
• Deal with anxiety and depression
• Reflect on and solve problems
• Reduce addictive behaviours
• Improve pain management
• Stop overthinking and worrying
• Improve mood
• Gain perspective on what really matters in life
• Think more positively and feel better
Mindfulness in practice
Mindfulness is a skill, and to develop that skill and reap the benefits, it needs to be practiced. This can be done formally, through mindfulness exercises, and more informally, as we go through the day.
Integrating mindfulness into the day
The first step to being more mindful is to try to take more notice of the world around you day to day.
Concentrate on being aware of your senses – simple things like taking time to enjoy the tastes and textures of the food whenever you eat, or noticing the pleasant feeling of the wind in your hair as you walk are a good start.
If you’re struggling to remember to be more mindful, then set aside some dedicated time – perhaps a lunch break, where you decide to be more mindful. Try new things, like visiting a new place for lunch, or taking a walk somewhere you don’t usually go, which will force you to break with routine, and notice the world in a different way.
Formal mindfulness practice
In addition to Mindfulness exercises, like the relaxation one outlined in last month’s Stress Busting post, there are a number of other more formal ways practice and develop mindfulness skills.
• Tai Chi
To some degree, Mindfulness is integral to all of these practices, and engaging in them will help you to become more aware of your body, thoughts and feelings, so you can start becoming more mindful in your everyday life.
How Mindworks can help
At Mindworks, our expert team are here to help business of all sizes, working in all industries to optimise their mental health management, through a range of tailored mental health training and consultancy services.
For further information about how we can improve mental health in your organisation, contact 01482 240134 today, or email [email protected]