A Beginners Guide to MindfulnessMindfulness is a practice that has been adopted and approved by the NHS for taking the time to step back and reflect on your life. It has been proven multiple times to help combat stress, anxiety and depression and over the years 2015/2016 it's popularity has really taken off. You can take mindfulness classes, courses and long weekends. Meditation sessions, group discussions books and audiotapes are also becoming more and more readily available. So we've answered your questions...
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness has been described as a way to ‘find peace in this busy world’. It is about a dedication to the awareness of the world around you. It is a psychological practice that means you take time to stop and notice things and to be fully aware of what you are experiencing, be it positive or negative. Through slowing down and focusing on your body and your emotions.
Is mindfulness a genuine practice?
‘Is this just another health-fad?’ Is he question on everybody's lips... Mindfulness has recently become a multi-million dollar industry and this means some people doubt how genuine it is. In fact it has been a Buddhist practice for more than 2,500 years and in 2004 was approved by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) as a proven method for reducing the recurrence rate of depression. Thirty percent of GP’s now refer patients suffering with mental health illnesses to mindfulness-based-treatment. The meditative practice has also been adopted by schools, law firms, banks, governments and the military as a practice to offer their staff.
What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?
Mindfulness is different to meditation in that during a meditation session the aim is to clear your mind and relax at peace with a clear and uninterrupted mind. A mindfulness session however the aim is to focus on what is around you. To become completely aware of yourself and your surroundings, how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing in that exact moment.
Mindfulness and forgetfulness
When you’re not in a state of mindfulness you’re in a state of forgetfulness. Through the stress surrounding you of family, work, commute, anxiety it is easy to forget to appreciate what is around you. You are physically present but mentally you’re thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
The opposite of this state of forgetfulness is mindfulness, you’re fully there and fully present in experiencing that present moment through breathing techniques and the practiced mental ability to really focus on what is around you.
How can I start practicing mindfulness?
The best way to start the practice of mindfulness is through simply controlling your breathing. Take 10 minutes from your day to sit somewhere where you are quiet and relaxed and really focus in on the breaths you are taking. What is the air around you lie? How does it taste? How does it smell? The feeling as the air enters your lungs and exits your body. Through focusing on the in-breath and the out-breath and simply recognising that you are breathing, how you’re doing it and what it feels like pulls you into the current moment. Breathing is something everyone does every second and it keeps us alive but it is something we don’t spare a thought for. Through focusing on the breathing you’re not thinking about the past of the future, you are fully focused on that exact moment and the breaths your body is taking to keep you alive.