A holistic approach to mental health and well-being

It only takes a moment. Being mindful.

It only takes a moment.  Being mindful.

There’s been a hoo-hah about “Mindfulness” for some time now.  To some it’s the latest thing, a panacea for all ills.  There’s “mindful parenting”, “mindful birthing”, “mindfulness for depression” to name a few.  To others, it’s still deeply rooted in mystery and weirdness with images of sitting cross-legged, chanting and burning incense.  There is so much information on it, it can be difficult to know where to start.  So I thought I’d give my very own brief overview of what I think mindfulness is and how I incorporate it into my life.

For many of us, we spend our life on “auto-pilot”.  As we go about our day our heads are somewhere else, pondering things that have happened or worrying about things that might.  This means that we often aren’t fully engaged in what we are doing and to this end, we can miss out on lovely moments that are right in front of our noses.  We just don’t see them as we are lost in thought.  Mindfulness helps us to press “pause” in our lives and come back into this present moment so we can savour it more or change it if we don’t like it.  It allows us to reconnect with ourselves and our lives so we can truly appreciate it.  So how do we do this mindfulness stuff then?

Well, there are lots of mindfulness practices you can do but I sometimes think it’s nice to start small.  Pausing by a window looking out onto a view is great.  You bring your full attention to what you can see, perhaps noticing things you hadn’t seen before.  Bringing “new eyes” to what you are paying attention to.  Appreciating the different colours available to you, the shape and form of what you are seeing, the way things move visually.  (I especially love doing this with trees which dance and shimmer in the breeze).  I also love watching my washing ebb and flow!

At  times your mind will try and hi-jack you saying…”stop looking at that, what about that argument you had yesterday?  What about that work you need to do”.  Minds LOVE doing that.  When this happens (which it will), you smile inwardly (cultivating kindness to yourself and others is inherent in mindfulness), notice where your mind has taken you (because that helps you to get to know your own mind), and then gently you escort yourself back to your practice noticing what you are seeing.  This momentary pause allows you to take the edge off that mental chatter, quietening it down slightly, giving you a little space between your thoughts and you!  We all need a breathing space.  Sometimes you just have to create your own.

Further resources

At some point I will record a brief mindfulness video and post it on here but for now you can get further information on mindfulness at:

http://www.headspace.com

http://www.franticworld.com/resources

So go on, take a moment!



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