What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is talked about a lot at these days. They are using it in schools with pupils to help them focus, and it’s often associated with meditation. But many of us don’t know what it is, and those that do may have seen books and courses on how to be mindful and feel put off. But mindfulness does not have to be complicated. So what is mindfulness?
In its most basic form, it just means checking in with our thoughts and feelings, and allowing them to exist, to be felt. This is the exact opposite of what many of us do in the day to day. We might avoid powerful negative feelings, or simply find ourselves too busy to focus our mind for long enough to figure out how we are feeling.
Mindfulness has been shown to be a key element in anxiety reduction and overall happiness
In the fast paced lives we lead, we may be moving at one hundred miles per hour. We are proud that we have mastered the technique of multi-tasking. Doing three things at ones is wonderful for getting through our list of jobs. But what is this doing for our wellbeing?
The answer is ‘not much’. Do you ever forget having eaten your lunch because you were answering emails? This is classic multi-tasking. This behaviour takes us away from being present in our day to day. Mindfulness asks that we focus on each thing that we do and focus on that thing only. It allows us to be engaged in the moment. Do you cook dinner and check your phone at the same time? This is the opposite of mindfulness.
So try to be more mindful. Set aside some time to enjoy your meal, to enjoy that phone call, to focus on going for a run or walk. Turn the music off for a while, and see what thoughts come up for you. You might be surprised to find that when you allow yourself some emotional space, your enjoyment is heightened. You become more attuned to yourself, and you can be present both for yourself and for others.
Mindfulness can be super simple, and the benefits numerous. Read more about mindfulness here.
I also talk a lot about practices for wellbeing, and mindfulness is one.