An honest guide to Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment by bringing particular attention to the breath. Other mindfulness techniques also allow greater awareness of our thoughts and feelings so that they no longer overwhelm us and we’re better able to manage them.
According to experts; "Practising mindfulness can give people more insight into their emotions, boost their attention and concentration and improve relationships. It’s proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours, and can even have a positive effect on physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain." (bemindful.co.uk)
Fairly compelling claims. So, does it work? Cultivating a way to cut through the negative thoughts we have about ourselves in particular can be extremely liberating. Even allowing ourselves a 'break' for one minute a day can make all the difference. But you can only try it for yourself to really know.
How hard is it? Well, on paper it seems very easy but sometimes when we start this work we begin to find just how busy, complex and clever our minds are. No matter though, it's all part of the process.
Here's an exercise to get you on your way:
1. Sit or stand somewhere you know you might not be interrupted for at least a minute. Even a busy tube can provide a suitable if somewhat challenging backdrop sometimes!
2. Pay all of your attention to your breathing. Focus on the air coming in through your nose and the air coming out of your nose.
3. After a while you may notice your mind wandering off. Thinking about how your breathing sounds, thinking about the sounds around you, thinking about dinner. Our minds can come up with some creative things and sometimes it takes a while to notice we have even wandered off! When you do notice, WITHOUT judging these thoughts or yourself, gently go back to watching the breath.
4. Repeat steps 2-3 until at least a minute is up.
You can do this exercise for as long as you wish, but a minute is an easy way to start.
If you have any other questions regarding Mindfulness please contact me.