Mindfulness. What is it? We hear it a lot these days. There is a lot of chatter about it, like it’s an important thing that we should all be incorporating into our daily lives. I like to know what the fuss is all about, so I spent the day finding out.
So I am going to see if I can answer the following questions:
- What is mindfulness?
- Who can do mindfulness?
- When should we practise mindfulness?
- Why should we practise mindfulness?
- Where can we practise mindfulness?
- How do we practice mindfulness?
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the idea of learning how to be fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment (Headspace). In a Forbes article by Sarah Jeanne Brown, she said that mindfulness is a way to release mental tension and anxiety. It is a way to be in tune with yourself and your environment in the moment.
Who can practice Mindfulness?
Anyone. Including me. However, be sure to consult with your doctor before you embark on your positive and healthy mental health journey.
When should we practise Mindfulness?
From what I am reading and learning, it is an anytime thing. It could be something we do first thing in the morning, or it could be something we do during the day. Whatever the case, mindfulness should be a daily and lifelong practice. The best part about mindfulness, it doesn’t take very long!!! Nice.
Why should we practise Mindfulness?
This is a crucial question. Why should we do it? There are many benefits associated with practising mindfulness.
The most important one is that it relieves stress. Like our physical health, we only have one mental health. Stress is like cancer to our mental health. Once we lose it, no amount of money can help us get it back. We need to look after it and protect it so that we can have a long, sustainable and happy future, just not for ourselves but our loved ones as well.
Studies on mindfulness have shown to reduce anxiety, boosts immunity and reduces blood pressure and chronic pains. It even gives you a good night sleep!
Where can we practise Mindfulness?
Anywhere you are comfortable in just being. Bedroom, Lounge room, Park… you pick.
How do we practise Mindfulness?
The internet has many articles as to how we can practice mindfulness. Some easy. Some not so much. But before we can actually practice mindfulness, we need to change our attitude towards mindfulness. It may feel alien at the beginning to most of us who are doing it for the first time, and we may sometimes feel stupid going through the motion, but we all need to understand that we are doing this for our wellbeing. We need to do all we can to save an important part of our health and mental well-being.
There are a few attitudes we need to learn when we decide to start practising mindfulness. They are:
- Beginner’s mind
- Letting Go
For more insight into each of the attitudes, check out this article by Olivier Devroede. There are many practical tips on the internet that we can do to get started on the mindfulness journey.
Reachout.com has an article that lists practical ways that we could do to start incorporating mindfulness. My personal favourite is washing dishes! Now that I think about it, I practise mindfulness by cleaning the house on a Friday. For some reason, I’ve found cleaning my home a calming and therapeutic exercise. I feel happy and a sense of accomplishment when the home is spotless.
I’ve learned a few things through writing this article today.
- I shouldn’t be too hard on myself if I don’t get it the first time around.
- I need to take my time to train my brain to learn how to be in a mindfulness state and be okay with it, no matter how long I am in there.
- Have a reasonable expectation of myself. The more I practise, the better I become at practising mindfulness.
- Like exercise, mindfulness is an everyday thing, not a one-day thing. It’s a lifestyle.
- I can practise mindfulness. I don’t have an excuse for not doing it. I just have to make the choice today.
- Healthy Body + Healthy Mind = Happy ME.
We can give ourselves many reasons not to practice mindfulness. By doing so, we are depriving our bodies and minds of the opportunities to lead a healthy and happy future. We only have one life, one body and one mind. Treat it well. Give mindfulness a go. Your body and mind will thank you for it!