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.
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
- Washing your hair
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!