Mindfulness seems to be the buzz word at the moment, and I often have clients asking me about it, or what it is. Mindfulness isn’t just about sitting still for an hour doing intense meditation (although it could be if you really wanted it to be). Being mindful simply means being aware of either yourself or your environment in a non-judgemental kind of way.
Have you ever been walking or driving somewhere, and find yourself immersed in your thoughts from the day. After about ten minutes, you realise that you do not remember actually driving or walking over the last ten minutes, and you’ve missed your turn by two blocks? This is what happens when we go on autopilot, and mindfulness helps us to turn that off.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Being mindful helps us with all sorts of things. It’s associated with…
- Lower levels of stress and anxiety
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced chronic pain
- Improved memory
- Decrease in irritability and moodiness
It’s no wonder mindfulness is being suggested now by so many people health professionals! Plus, who doesn’t want better sleep and lower stress?
There are so many different ways to practise mindfulness. One of my favourite ways to work in mindfulness is during my tea break at work. The next time you take a tea break, start by experiencing your tea break with all five of the senses. What does your tea look like? What does it smell like? What colour is it? How does the cup feel, how hot is it? What sound does it make as you sip your tea? What does the tea REALLY taste like as you drink it? Follow these same steps with each sip, and as you eat your biscuit with your tea. You may find tastes that you didn’t notice before, or find your break more relaxing.
Another great way to practise mindfulness is using one of the many apps and MP3 downloads that are available. Listening to guided meditations can be a great way of starting off, because they help to keep you focused on being mindful; doing a completely unguided meditation can be difficult if you’re first starting out. Andrew Johnson, a trained hypnotherapist in the UK, has been kind enough to donate one of his meditation downloads to us! He’s been teaching stress management and coping skills in the UK for the past sixteen years, and has a huge range of mindful apps and meditations. I actually use his apps all the time, and suggest them to my own clients!
For a free download of this meditation, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be sent back to you. While you’re at it don’t forget to sign up to our blog so you never miss a post!
Nicole Paulie is a Counselling Psychologist, and co-author of “How to be Happy and Healthy – The seven natural elements of mental health.” She provides therapy in the Dublin city area. Contact usto learn more or to book an appointment.