Midlife Mental Health -The Benefits of Mindfulness

Benefits of Mindfulness and Mental Health

Do you find yourself often in a state of existing on ‘auto-pilot’?  Doing things without even realising you are doing them?

When we are stressed or anxious or depressed or just wanting to cope with everyday life, the practice of being mindful can help.

mindfulness for good mental health

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is based on Buddhist meditation principles and has been used in treatment of depression.  It is a practice that helps you to focus and pay attention to what you are doing right now and noticing what you are experiencing at any given time.  Too often, we are worrying or caught up in a busy lifestyle without really experiencing life itself.

Benefits of Mindfulness

  • Mindfulness brings you ‘in the moment’
  • Helps you to clear your mind,
  • Teaches you to forget about the past or future and just appreciate the moment you are experiencing.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Helps to slow down your thoughts
  • Helps you to focus
  • Aids relaxation
  • Improves immune system

Practice being Mindful

I am currently taking a course through futurelearn.com about Successful Ageing.  One of the topics covered is Strategies for managing fear and worry.  In this topic Mindfulness is discussed and Brian Lawlor, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin.  Professor Lawlor explains how we can be start being mindful in everyday life.

Choose any of the activities mentioned below and see if you can remember to pay attention while you are doing it. You do not have to slow down or even enjoy it. Simply do what you normally do, but pay full attention to what you are doing, rather than getting caught up in thoughts, fears or worries. Notice all the bodily sensations.

  • Using the telephone
  • Going up or down stairs or steps
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Showering
  • Washing your hair
  • Eating

Every time you drift into thinking, just acknowledge that you have had a thought and then bring your attention back to noticing these sensations (e.g. your body on the chair, sounds in the room, the taste of what you are eating). Practising mindfulness over time reduces stress and gives people a better sense of control over their lives.

In researching Mindfulness I came across the ‘Smiling Mind’ website and their ‘app’ which provides free guided mindfulness meditation programs.  Click Here to read more about the Smiling Mind programs.

 In my next post we look at Nourishing our Mind and our Body

Let’s Keep Sizzling!

 

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27 thoughts on “Midlife Mental Health -The Benefits of Mindfulness

  1. Laurie Stone

    I’m the queen of non-mindfulness sometimes. Strangely, I find doing housework puts me back in mindfulness. It take me out of my head and back in my body. Plus, my house gets clean, a win-win. Thank you for this reminder.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Laurie, I was undertaking a meditation course last Sunday and they suggested that even brushing your teeth and concentrating on the action is a good way to be mindful and in the present. At least your house will be sparkling and whatever way you can achieve some mindfulness is great – everyone is different.

      Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Thanks Carolann. I’ve not been able to meditate but went to a course last week and came away with a totally different perspective. I’m sure I will find it much easier now.

      Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Yes I know another buzz word but I’m doing a course on Strategies for Successful Ageing and they suggested that as we age we need to be more mindful of what we are doing in the present. It doesn’t really come naturally to me as I always have several things buzzing around in my mind and juggling them all.

      Reply
  2. Nancy Hill

    Awareness is the best gift we can give to ourselves. Without it we do not really live our lives, we just move through time and space. Great reminder and group of articles.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Thank you Nancy. Sometimes it isn’t easy to be aware as life gets in the way but I’m starting to try to make a conscious effort to be more in tune with what I’m doing at any given moment.

      Reply
  3. Leanne

    Being in the moment and taking time out of the hurly burly of life can do so much to revive our minds and our spirits – it should be something we all take time to do more often.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      I went to a Meditation course last weekend with my friend and felt fabulous after 3 hours. I’m going to be writing a post about it because I came away with a different perception of meditation.

      Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      My pleasure Linda! I’m the same – mind always racing. I’m doing something but thinking of a million other things at the same time. However, our brains need a break and being mindful and present in the moment helps that.

      Reply
  4. Gilly Maddison

    Seems as if lots of people don’t find mindfulness easy – glad I’m not alone in that! One way that helps me to stay in the moment and not drift away into worry land is if I describe to myself (in my head) what I am doing. I am filling the kettle. I am switching it on. I am listening to it heat up. Etc etc. It really does help me. But meditation – it’s a nightmare if I do the sitting with eyes closed thing. Painting is the best way to meditate for me – or doodling and then colouring in my doodles.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Gilly! That is exactly what I’ve learned through a course I’m doing on Strategies for Successful Ageing. They suggest when brushing your teeth or filling the kettle you thinking about what you are doing that moment. I wish I could paint as I think it would take you to another world and definitely bring relaxation.

      Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Oh I do too Molly. I think most people do but we need to be aware of the benefits and try to be mindful at some point in the day. The course is great and FREE I can give you more info if you need it.

      Reply
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  6. Michele

    I’m not sure why I am uncomfortable with the word mindfulness, but I love the habit. I need some quiet time to myself to think and reflect and plan. It is when I hear my deepest inner voice talking to me, and it is never wrong. When I don’t get this time I feel rushed and disconnected.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Yes Michele perhaps because it can sound like a ‘buzz’ word. I don’t think it matters what it is called as long as we take time to be kind to ourselves and focus on the moment.

      Reply

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