When life gets busy or stressful, it can be easy to get caught up in your thoughts and feelings.
This is where mindfulness can really come into its own. It’s all about being “in the moment” and taking stock of how this makes you feel so that you can take greater control over your mental health and well-being.
How Can Mindfulness Help You?
From a mental health perspective, mindfulness can help you to step back from your thoughts as you become more aware of them. You might be able to see patterns in your thought processes that you weren’t in a position to recognise before ,which you can then work on retraining into more helpful thought patterns.
Another benefit of mindfulness is the opportunity to take back some control over your thought processes. By acknowledging your thoughts but not dwelling on them, you’re taking away most of their power over you. Instead of being overwhelming, they become easier to deal with.
Tips for Practicing Mindfulness
You don’t need to find a big window in your diary to start including mindfulness in your day-to-day life. It’s something that you can focus on whenever you have some free time, even if this is just for a few minutes at a time.
It can be hard to get to grips with mindfulness at first and you may find yourself feeling discouraged by the thoughts and worries that are likely to come into your mind when you start to focus on the world around you.
The trick is to let them flow over you, rather than trying to make them go out of your mind. Bring yourself “back” when your mind starts to wander.
Examples of Mindfulness in Action
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s surprisingly easy to find opportunities to do so. Here are a few easy ways to introduce it into your day:
Be aware of your breathing: When you’re feeling stressed, focusing on your breathing can help to calm you down. It’s also a way to practice mindfulness and can be done pretty much anywhere. For the next few breaths, concentrate on how you feel as you breathe in and out deeply. You may find that you need to alter your breathing pattern as you pay close attention to it and this gives you more opportunity to note the sensations.
Relax your facial muscles: Stress and tension can lead to the muscles in your face becoming tight. Taking a few minutes to relax your forehead and jaw can help to ward off stress induced pain (especially headaches) and can even encourage you to feel calmer as you release the tension.
Listening to music: Mindfulness can also be as simple as listening to music and immersing yourself in the tempo. Music with a slow beat is generally recommended as it is more relaxing. As you listen, think about the sound of the music and how it makes you feel.
Want to learn more about mindfulness? There are various courses you can take (both online and in person) that will teach a broad range of mindfulness skills in more depth.