People are increasingly talking about mindfulness as a way to cope with the stresses and strains of life. But what exactly is it?
Mindfulness involves turning off the auto-pilot and simply paying more attention to the present moment, noticing the sights and sounds around you and tuning in to your thoughts and feelings. In the long-term it can be a great tool to help reduce anxiety, depression and stress and can help you feel calmer and more focused.
Fancy giving mindfulness a go? Here’s 10 things to try.
1. Just breathe
Take five minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Mindfulness is also about reconnecting with your body so try to switch off your thoughts and notice the sound and feel of your breathing.
2. Go for a walk
It’s easy to walk around and not really notice anything, especially when you’re rushing around and have a million things going through your mind. Instead take time to feel the breeze on your face, notice how your feet feel on the ground and take in the sights and smells around you. Think of nothing but your walk.
3. Eat and drink
Pay attention to the taste of the food, the texture and the flavours. Focus completely on the meal or snack you are eating and try not to think about anything else but that food. If it’s coffee time, focus solely on the drink and how it feels and tastes.
4. Try something new
Try eating or drinking something you’ve never tried before, whether it’s something as simple as a new flavour biscuit or smoothie. Perhaps in your next work meeting sit somewhere different and focus on the new perspective it gives you. What do you notice that you didn’t see from your old seat?
Whether you buy an adult colouring book or choose to just draw something and colour it in, take a few minutes to focus completely on the colours, the feel of the pens or pencils on the paper and the sounds they make. Tune in to how the colouring makes you feel.
6. Be kind to yourself
Take a few minutes to sit quietly and focus on your positive attributes. It’s so easy to put yourself down and think you’re not good enough, but actually taking time out to think about the good things you do and your positive character traits, will hopefully help to remind you to be kinder to yourself.
7. Take a shower or bath
Instead of dashing in and out of the shower in the morning rushing to get ready, spend those few minutes noticing the feel of the water on your skin.
Take time to tune into your environment and listen to the sounds around you, whether you’re in a busy coffee shop or in the garden at home.
9. Do yoga or Tai chi
If you’ve got time for a class then both yoga and Tai chi are perfect for mindfulness as they force you to focus on breathing. The movements are also slow, which in turn allows your mind to concentrate entirely on what you’re doing in that moment.
10. Take a course
If you’d like to explore further, then mindfulness courses are on offer and are ideal for providing a range of techniques. There are also groups available across Staffordshire and Shropshire which hold regular mindfulness meetings.