It’s not complicated or taxing. It can be the easiest thing in the world – once you know how.
Mindfulness is about being fully ‘present’ in the moment. This means it doesn’t really matter where you are or what you’re doing (to a certain extent!), it’s learning to be aware of where you are or what you’re doing. Obviously the physical you is always there but very often our thoughts can be somewhere else (dinner, chores, shopping, deadlines…)
Mindfulness is a technique that allows us first to notice, and then train your attention, what is going on around us. It could be small ‘moment’ like being aware off the drink you’re drinking or longer, more purposeful moments, like sitting in meditation and focusing on your breath. So, mindfulness helps us to be more aware of what is actually happening, rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen. Hence the talk about the present moment; the here and now.
For this reason, it is proven to help manage and prevent feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. It enables anyone who practices it to live with more appreciation and attention.
Now, I could tell you that mindfulness is ground-breaking and revolutionary, and in many ways this is true. But there isn’t anything special or secret about mindfulness; it’s simply about learning to work with your mind, observe your thoughts and make decisions that will benefit you once you have developed this awareness.
Does Mindfulness Work?
Yes. So much so that it is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and prescribed through the NHS as a way to prevent depression and address mental health issues such as anxiety. According to the NHS, Mindfulness can improve your mental wellbeing, help you to enjoy life more and understand yourself better.
I don’t think I have time…
I thought the same thing. I am a full time teacher so, during term time, time isn’t exactly in abundance! I found that building in short mindful moments during the day were good reminders to stop my mind wandering too far to the past or future. I then ‘marked’ the start of my evening with a 30 minute meditation. This usually allowed me to ‘decompress’ from the day, gather my thoughts, and carry on.