Life can be chaotic with so many things going on at once at what feels like 100pmh. It can become easy to lose sight of what is happening in the present when we have so much to think about in our past and future. Our minds are powerful tools, influencing the way we act and feel therefore we must take measures to nurture them.
Mindfulness is all about slowing down and allowing ourselves to focus on what is going on both inside and out, moment by moment without judgement. It encourages us to engage with our five senses and reconnect with our bodies and most importantly; our mind. The techniques found within mindfulness have their roots in
How does Mindfulness Work?
Becoming more aware of the present moment allows us to better enjoy the world around us and grasp knowledge of our bodies because when we slow down, we are able to experience the small things we often take for granted. It is important to free ourselves from reliving the problems of our past and anticipating the future by prioritising our present.
Mindfulness allows us to identify existing negative thinking patterns. Awareness is a large aspect of mindfulness. It can be useful to name or label thoughts in order to identify negative traits such as anxiety. Emotional regulation is a vital tool and mindfulness works to develop self-awareness and coping mechanisms when experiencing negative thoughts. Most importantly it teaches us to be kinder to ourselves. Life can be stressful and it can become easy to fall in feelings of self-loathing when things become too much. The sense of awareness that mindfulness can allow us to notice signs of anxiety and stress earlier meaning we can deal with them better.
There is often a perception that mindfulness must be performed in a particular way but mindfulness is all about tapping into the needs of the self. Try not to focus too much on whether you are doing the exercises correctly; it is all about being present. Our minds naturally want to drift but don’t be too harsh on yourself when it does. Mindfulness takes practice. When you sense that your mind is beginning to wonder, gently bring yourself back to the exercise at hand.
Benefits of Mindfulness
The benefits of mindfulness are well documented within research. According to the Healthline, these benefits include:
Improving Brain Health and slowing brain ageing
Reducing anxiety, stress and depression symptoms
Aid with pain management
Increased emotional regulation
Improving relationships and quality of life: when we live busy lives, it can have a strain on relationships as it becomes harder to focus on
The 5-4-3-2-1 Technique:
A great technique to focus your thoughts is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. The 5-4-3-2-1 technique is a simple yet powerful tool slowly pulling the individual back to the present. Begin with being mindful of your breath and slow the pace of life down and become aware of the environment around you.
Observe 5 things you can see
Raise awareness of 4 things you can touch:
Recognise 3 things you can hear
Be observant of 2 things you can smell
Recognise 1 thing you can taste
Repeat the process as many times necessary to feel yourself being grounded.
Mindfulness is usually likened to meditation in that it seeks to create a temporary state of mind; however, mindfulness should be viewed as a lifestyle, incorporated into daily life. It is important to stay consistent with mindfulness. Regular short periods of mindfulness can be more effective than occasional long ones. Furthermore, don’t overthink about whether you are doing the right thing. The great thing about mindfulness is that you can practice it in everything you do so when you feel overwhelmed, wherever you may be, take a few moments to practice some mindfulness exercises and be kind to your mind.