Mindfulness is a technique that might help you manage your mental health or simply gain more enjoyment from life. It involves attempting to give your full attention to what is happening in the present moment – to what’s happening in your body, your mind or your surroundings, for example – in a non-judgemental way. Mindfulness describes a way of approaching our thoughts and feelings so that we become more aware of them and react differently to them. Studies show that practising mindfulness can help you manage mild depression, anxiety and other common mental health problems.
So, how do you become mindful? Essentially, you try to become more aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical feelings. This can help you notice the effects events have on your body or when you get caught up in negative thoughts so that you can manage them and feel able to make a choice about how you respond to your thoughts and feelings.
Mindfulness involves attempting to give your full attention to what is happening in the present moment – to what’s happening in your body, your mind or your surroundings, for example – in a non-judgemental way.
When you do any mindfulness exercise, you pay attention to your surroundings– for example, when you cook, try to pay attention to the smell, feel and sound around you. If your mind wanders, which is normal, simply notice where your thoughts have drifted to, accept it and bring your attention back to the present moment, usually by focusing on your breath, body or something in your surroundings.
If you would like to try out mindfulness, listen to our mindfulness exercises which we will be releasing shortly. This will include a Visualisation, Mindful Breathing, and Body Scan exercise which will all be around 5 minutes long- perfect for taking a quick break out of your busy day. These will be available on our podcast which you can access via our website, Spotify or Google Podcasts.
Studies show that practising mindfulness can help you manage mild depression, anxiety and other common mental health problems.
If you would prefer to practice mindfulness away from your devices, you could try mindful walking. Walk slightly slower than your normal pace and pay attention to each step as your foot makes contact with the ground. Pay attention to your walking and your breath. Notice your surroundings and really focus on the present moment. If your mind wanders, notice your thoughts or feelings without judgement and bring your awareness back to your walking. As explained above, mindful cooking is also a great mindfulness exercise that you can do away from your devices.
If you find Mindfulness useful, here are some other resources:
Breathworks: Provides mindfulness courses for manage many long-term health conditions, including pain- and stress-related illness.
Be Mindful: Information about mindfulness and an online course
Headspace - they are offering a larger selection of free meditations, including a new series specifically to help through the pandemic called 'Weathering the Storm'.
Simple Habit - designed for 'busy' people which offers meditations as short as 5 minutes.
Stop Breathe & Think - an app which gets you to 'check-in' with how you are feeling before meditating and providing ideas for activities.
Written by Priya (Three Little Birds Volunteer)