Mindfulness has become quite topical and almost trendy of late but it’s most definitely not a new concept. It is derived from Buddist practice and has been coined by Psychology in the past number of years.
As part of my job as a Mental Health Professional, I talk about mindfulness a lot to my service users as one of the many tools for them to use from their toolbox for coping with whatever Mental Illness they are experiencing.
There are numerous different types of ‘Mindfulness’ from meditation to breathing or Yoga.
To define it, Mindfulness is a way of managing your thoughts through different techniques to help you focus on the present moment.
In sure most of you think it is a lot of mumbojumbo, however it has been extensively researched and is a preventative method as well as a coping method for anxiety and depression.
When stress and pressures hang over you like a rain cloud, it is very easy to get caught in that negative thinking patterns, which can be a vicious circle and hard to break. Being mindful is accepting this stress, and catching those negative thoughts and challenging them before they drag you down.
So what do you mean by challenging your thoughts? Basically that little internal voice in your head needs retrained, observe the comments without criticising , learning to be compassionate and kinder to yourself.
Some ways of being in the moment and focusing on the here and now are:
Yoga– I recently took up UndaYoga as I felt I needed that 90mins a week for true me time, focusing on nothing but my practice and breathing.
Walking– get yourself out and about at lunch time. Being cooped up at a desk, taking stressful phone calls…escape from that for 30mins and focus on your steps, the trees, the sky or breathing. You will feel so much better for it and come back refreshed to tackle the rest of the afternoon.
Watching your thoughts– If you are like me, I have a constant stream of thoughts of things I should do, should have done and as I talked about above, getting caught in negative thinking cycles. The trick is noticing when you are doing this. Say STOP to yourself internally and focus on your breathing for a moment (Breathe in for 5 and out for 5 until you are completely refocused). This will refocus your brain on the present moment.
Colouring in- Yes, you heard me right! I recently bought a colouring book off Amazon called ‘The Mindfulness Colouring Book’ it’s a great way to switch off for 10 minutes and focus on the picture and colours. They are quite intriquite drawings so require a lot of concentration!!
To finish, let me reiterate, mindfulness is always work in progress. It is also unrealistic to walk around in a bubble all the time and be blasé about life. We have to remember in this mad world, we have to look after ourselves, including our mental health.
If you have any questions or would like to know more, drop me a line.