By now you’ve probably heard of the LiveStreams I have been hosting on the All Around Health YouTube channel. If you’ve joined one in the past week, thanks for coming along! If you have not had the opportunity to join one just yet, please see below a link to find out more information about the livestreams:
But what is Mindfulness? How do you practice it, and what are the benefits? I’m glad you asked!
Mindfulness is a meditative technique rooted in Buddhist philosophy and practice. While I am not a practitioner of Buddhist theology, in my personal life I do find that a lot of my values and actions align with that of Buddhism. In any case, when I found this technique now being used within the clinical space, I had to try it out for myself. I’m glad I did.
So far, the applications of mindfulness have been found to help with a myriad of health issues, including but not limited to:
- Eating Behaviour
- Chronic Pain
- Stress Reduction
- Sleep Support
- Management of Long Term Conditions
- Smoking Cessation
- And even Childbirth!
Useful for managing stress of all kinds, and connecting with our mind and body, practicing mindfulness can help us all achieve a more peaceful existence. As you can imagine, it has become very popular within the medical world as a cost-effective alternative to traditional medicine. However, to practice this effectively ourselves we have to take into consideration the 5 key components of mindfulness…
Mindfulness is about the simple act of bringing awareness to the present moment. We can do that by focusing on our breathing, or other physical sensations of the body. During mindfulness, we may observe the things that are happening around us too. However, during an exercise, we must try to not allow that external stimuli to lead to future- or past-thinking.
During a mindfulness session, you do not necessarily have to speak out loud what you are observing. However, we can practice our ability to describe what it is that we are experiencing, so that we may reflect and process whatever it is we are feeling/thinking about, at a later date.
As relaxing as a good meditative experience can be, mindfulness is not about trying to obtain relaxation. Instead, we are putting effort into focusing our mind. Think of mindfulness more so as a way to discipline the mind, albeit in a calming and positive manner!
During a meditation it may be difficult to completely focus on the present moment. That is perfectly natural, especially for a beginner. However, as we practice mindfulness, we can find ourselves more easily getting into this mindset.
Our internal monologue, however loud or quiet yours may be, can be prone to self-judgement. When practicing mindfulness, we aim to rid ourselves of these evaluations (whether good or bad). Instead, we accept the thoughts and emotions we are experiencing in that moment, and allow ourselves to simply be.
This is what I find to be the most difficult aspect of mindfulness, beginner or otherwise. Whatever it is that we are experiencing during mindfulness, we must try not to react to it. Similar to avoiding a lack of judgement, we must aim to detach ourselves from our thoughts and emotions. Linking back to the first component, we can try to take a step back from ourselves, and observe what it is that we are experiencing from a neutral stance.
If you think that sounds like something you may be interested in practicing yourself, please go ahead and do so! There are plenty of self-help materials out there to help guide you along the way, but please also check out the livestreams too if you can. Alternatively, please enquire about my own services, where I can help your practice better mental wellbeing directly: