Top Tips for getting into Mindfulness
What is Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a mental state characterized by heightened awareness of the present moment without judgment or distraction by thoughts, emotions, or external stimuli. It involves paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations with openness, curiosity, and non-judgment.
Mindfulness practice is rooted in ancient meditation techniques from Buddhism. It has recently gained widespread popularity as a secular tool for reducing stress, improving mental health, and increasing well-being. You can practice mindfulness formally through meditation or informally by bringing attention to everyday activities like walking, eating, or washing the dishes.
Mindfulness has seen a considerable uptake, especially since the Covid19 lockdown, as schools, workplaces, and individuals want to add calmness to their everyday lives. Some of the reasons why mindfulness has become so popular are:
- Increased scientific research: over the past few decades, there has been a growing body of scientific research on mindfulness and its benefits, including reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, improving attention and concentration, and increasing empathy and compassion for oneself and others. Mindfulness can also have physical health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure. It can help reduce stress, increase focus, and improve overall well-being.
- Rising interest in holistic health; many people are turning to mindfulness to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues without relying on medication as we see a significant movement towards holistic health and wellness.
- Digital technology, mindfulness apps, and online resources have made the practice more accessible to people who may not have access to traditional meditation centres or classes.
- Celebrities; high-profile celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey and Ryan Reynolds, have publicly endorsed mindfulness and its benefits, helping to show that even those at the top of their fields need support with managing everyday life!
If you’re interested in starting a mindfulness practice, see below for some tips to help you get started.
Top 7 Tips
Don’t try to dive into a 30-minute meditation right away if you’ve never practiced mindfulness before. Start with just a few minutes of mindful breathing or paying attention to your surroundings. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend practicing mindfulness as you become more comfortable with the practice.
Choose a regular time and place
It’s helpful to choose a regular time and place for your mindfulness practice. This can help you build a routine and make it easier to stick with the practice over time. Choose a time when you’re likely to be able to focus, such as early in the morning or in the evening when the day’s activities have wound down.
Pay attention to your breath
One of the simplest and most effective ways to practice mindfulness is to pay attention to your breath. Focus on the sensation of air entering and leaving your body. If your mind starts to wander, gently redirect your attention back to your breath.
Use guided meditations
If you’re new to mindfulness, it can be helpful to use guided meditations to get started. There are many apps and websites that offer free guided meditations, which can help you stay focused and give you a structure to follow.
It’s important to remember that mindfulness is a practice and required repetition. You will inevitably have days when your mind wanders, or you struggle to stay focused. Instead of beating yourself up over these moments, practice self-compassion and remind yourself that mindfulness is a journey, not a destination.
Like any habit, mindfulness takes practice and consistency to develop. Try to practice mindfulness every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Over time, you’ll likely notice the benefits of your practice and find it easier to stay focused and present in the moment.
Gratitude is an important part of mindfulness. Take some time each day to reflect on the things in your life that you’re grateful for. This can help shift your focus away from negative thoughts and emotions and towards a more positive outlook.
Everyday example of Mindfulness:
Mindfulness can be used in a range of everyday scenarios, picking the most appropriate skill to use will be developed through practice and repetition. As an example, when you are next feeling overwhelmed, try the 5-4-3-2-1 senses mindfulness activity to reduce ruminating and overstimulation:
- Start by taking a deep breath and relaxing your body.
- Look around and identify 5 things you can see. It can be anything, such as a tree, a book, or a lamp. Take a moment to notice the colours, shapes, and textures of each object.
- Now, identify 4 things you can feel. It can be the sensation of your feet on the ground, the texture of your clothes, or the temperature of the air. Focus on the physical sensations of each thing.
- Identify 3 things you can hear. It can be the sound of traffic outside, the hum of a computer, or the rustling of leaves. Listen to each sound for a few seconds.
- Identify 2 things you can smell. It can be the scent of a candle, the aroma of coffee, or the fragrance of flowers. Take a moment to inhale deeply and notice each smell.
- Finally, identify 1 thing you can taste. It can be the taste of a drink, a snack, or even your own saliva. Pay attention to the taste and savour it for a few moments.
By completing this exercise, you have focused your mind on the present moment and engaged your five senses, which can help ground you in the here and now and reduce stress or anxiety.
Incorporating mindfulness into daily life can be a valuable tool for anyone seeking to cultivate greater self-awareness, reduce stress, and live a more fulfilling life. While mindfulness is not a saving grace for all problems, it can be a powerful practice for improving mental and physical health and overall well-being.
At Psymplicity Healthcare – we offer a wide range of therapeutic interventions that all utilise mindfulness to support a vast array of mental health difficulties. Mindfulness can be crucial in managing difficult emotions, tolerating distress, and feeling relaxed, all critical components in an effective therapeutic environment.
Contact us now and speak with our specialist psychology team if you recognise that you or a loved one is struggling with symptoms of stress, lack of focus, and emotional dysregulation, to begin a personalised treatment plan today.
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