The term 'mindfulness' is thrown around a lot, but not many understand what it really means. In the very simplest terms, it is about being focused on the present moment.
That means not feeling guilty over the takeaway you just ate or worrying needlessly about tomorrow's schedule. Instead, you simply take every moment as it comes.
Mindfulness can have an incredibly powerful effect on your life. In fact, practising mindfulness is believed to help:
- Improve your emotional stability and ability to cope with stress.
- Improve your ability to perceive the emotions of others and demonstrate empathy.
- Reduce levels of depression and anxiety.
- Experience healthier, closer romantic relationships.
- Improve academic/work performance.
- Improve sleep quality.
That's only the tip of the iceberg – mindfulness can also help with a range of physical health parameters as well. The best part is, it's a safe treatment that anyone can use, from small children up to the elderly.
Often people think mindfulness is only chanting with legs crossed on a mat. But in fact, most people experience mindfulness without even realising it. Any time that you have been completely in the moment, enjoying yourself, you have experienced mindfulness. It might be on a holiday in the sun, or during a fun night of dancing with friends.
So what are some simple ways to actively practice mindfulness? Here are a few of the easiest to slip into everyday life:
- Mindful eating: take your time to chew thoroughly, feel the texture of your food and really relish the taste.
- Mindful breathing: take a few moments to focus on breathing deep down into your belly.
- Mindful practice: use a guided meditation to assist you in practising mindfulness.
- Mindful living: try to focus on only one thing at a time – that means putting your phone down and turning off the TV!
- Mindful emotions: if something bad happens, you can still be mindful – simply notice the flow of emotions and thoughts that trickle through your brain, and accept them.
- Mindful thoughts: if you are a very anxious person, the best practice is to observe your thoughts, without judging them, but instead accepting them and letting them go.
Incorporating mindfulness is so easy, you really have nothing to lose. But you might have everything to gain – so why not give it a try today?