The Benefits of Practising Mindfulness.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

What is mindfulness?

Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
"It's easy to stop noticing the world around us. It's also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour," he says.
"An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs.
"Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment.
"It's about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives."
- NHS Website
I first discovered Mindfulness when I started therapy - in particular a seminar group - a couple of years ago that focused on changing your mindset to help improve mental health. 
The concept of Mindfulness seems so simple; basically live in the here and now, appreciate what is happening today and not what is to come or what may happen. The idea of putting it into practice is not always so easy though. Like anything else it is about practice and determination. To combat mental health issues you have to be prepared to work hard at changing your mindset and outlook.
Mindfulness REALLY helped me do that.
In any given situation good or bad, I focus on today and today only. I don't think about that upcoming appointment or social situation, I don't think about the mountain of tasks that continues to pile up. I do what I can for today and tomorrow is another day.
Living a more 'mindful' way also helps me get through difficult times whether it is a particular situation I know may make me anxious or stress. By not thinking about it until the time comes I avoid the risk of over thinking and therefore over catastrophising things like I would have done in the past. 
As the above quote says, many tend to live in their head rather than the here and now and I can definitely relate to that. I couldn't even enjoy what I was doing when I was having a good time because my mind was always somewhere else. 
Over the last nine months we have sadly been through some very stressful times and I have found that by continuing to take each day as it comes I  have been much less stressed out. In fact I have found myself being really upbeat. Another saying I live by is:

"Worrying won't ever change the outcome."

If it is beyond your control then let go of it. Don't over think it and don't worry about it.

So make sure you remember to appreciate when times are great and you are enjoying life. Perhaps money worries have lessened or you've had a promotion, whatever it is take time to value that and how happy you feel. If you go on an amazing once in a lifetime holiday, savour every drop of the experience and live in the moment because as we are well aware, sadly holidays don't last forever.

The same as if you are going through difficult times, perhaps money worries or you have recently lost a loved one, remember that this moment in time is also temporary and it won't stay this way forever and neither will how you feel. Take each day at a time and listen to how your body feels. Especially when grieving.

Things will improve.

Photo Source: tinbuddha.com

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