You’ve probably heard the term being bashed around but what does it actually mean to be in a state of ‘mindfulness’? Take our quiz to find out your own mindfulness rating
The Oxford Mindfulness Centre defines the term mindfulness as “moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience, without judgement.” It’s a state of consciousness about our environment and how situations can and will affect us, knowing exactly what is happening to us both on the inside in our own mind and around us.
Registered General Nurse, Nikki Harman, is known as The Mindful Nurse, and is a mindfulness coach to adults, she says: “Mindfulness is defined as being in the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or thinking about the future. For example, if you are out for a walk somewhere in nature, try focusing in on the scenery around you, using your senses to interact with what’s going on around you during the walk. Stop every now and then to take in some deeper breaths, noticing where you might be feeling tension in your body, and breathe it out, to help relax you.
“Being mindful means really paying attention to what’s going on around and within you, with a sense of peaceful acceptance. If you are walking through a forest but looking at your phone, you are not present in the forest, you are living in the past or the future, depending on the nature of what you are looking at. Put the phone away, look around you, pay attention and enjoy living in the moment!”
“Various studies have shown how regular mindfulness practice has a positive impact on the individual, causing changes in the parts of the brain that affect self-regulation of emotions, empathy, memory and mood, and how they react to life situations and common daily stress triggers. Any or all of these changes over time can positively influence emotional well-being, leading to a positive emotional state,” explains Nikki.
But we shouldn’t put too much pressure on ourselves to get it right, says Superdrug’s mindfulness expert, Claire Diamond. “One of the tricky things with techniques like mindfulness or meditation is that sometimes people get stressed or blame themselves because they are not able to be mindful or to be in the present moment or to calm the mind. This can add to the stressful thinking. The most helpful thing of all is to see that our entire experience is created from thought.”
Are you being mindful? Take our quiz to find out your own mindfulness rating
1. Do you practice regular meditation?
- I can’t live without it(4)
- When I feel stressed or anxious (3)
- Occasionally (2)
- Never (1)
2. How often do you find yourself in uncomfortable situations?
- All the time, I can’t help it (1)
- I feel stressed regularly (2)
- I do get anxious but I can calm myself down (3)
- Stress is all in the mind (4)
3. Do you find social occasions difficult?
- I do but I cope with it (3)
- Being social is my thing! (2)
- Facing difficult situations correctly is therapy (4)
- I rarely go out because I hate feeling awkward (1)
4. How often do you have negative thoughts?
- Not very often, I avoid them (2)
- All the time, it’s crippling (1)
- Most days I struggle but I have ways to cope (3)
- I turn negative thoughts into positive energy (4)
5. How important is having ‘me’ time to you?
- I hate being alone (1)
- I’ve no time for me time, I’m so bury (2)
- I try and take some time a few days a week (3)
- Every day, I have to process my emotions (4)
6. When was the last time you stopped and really took notice of the things around you?
- Just today, I spent time examining a raisin from my morning cereal as if it was the first time I had ever seen one (4)
- I don’t have time to eat let alone look closely at my food (2)
- When something really catches my attention, I’ll focus my mind (3)
- Thinking too much about one thing makes me feel anxious (1)
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