The Importance of Mindfulness
Take a minute and think of three things that are bothering you right now. Now, ask yourself the following question: how many of these problems are real problems occurring here and now? In today’s hectic life where we often feel like we’re running out of time, we often find it hard to take advantage of the present moment.
Too often, we are too busy anticipating what will happen or thinking about what happened. Spending more time in the past – or in the future – keeps us “in our heads” and leads to states of anxiety and depression.
What is Mindfulness?
The term “Mindfulness” is a translation of the Pali term Sati which is an important element in Buddhist healing methods. As an intervention strategy many online and personal therapists use mindfulness to treat an array of mental health conditions.
How Does Mindfulness Help?
Mindfulness helps by:
- Make us aware of the ‘self’
- Helping us to feel our environment and to fully utilize our senses
- Leaving us a break in the chatter of our minds, giving us a chance to calm down
- Allowing us to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us
- Practice and refine our concentration.
Easy Mindfulness Exercises to Try
Conscious Breathing: Allow the breathing to flow freely. Do not try to control it. Continue to breathe and stretch your arms with each breath and exhale. Focus all your attention on your breathing. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath, without judgment.
Close Observation: Select any natural object in your visual field (flowers, birds, sky, water, a flame, a flower or even an image) and let yourself be devoured by its presence. Whenever your mind is distracted by thoughts, plans, or worries, gently bring it back to observe the world around you.
Listening Attentively: It is simply a question of selecting the music of your choice and listening to it at a low and soothing volume. If it’s a song you’ve heard before, try to notice something new about it. Notice the subtleties and complexities of the music. When the music is over, watch and name the following five sounds that you can hear around you in the next few minutes.
Mindful Eating: Take a break in the conversation and close your eyes. Take a bite. Observe the nuances of the flavours. Notice how it feels and tastes on different parts of your tongue. Roll it over your tongue and observe the texture of the food.
Mindfulness takes practice but is well established as an effective remedy for anxiety and depression. Start with 5 minutes a day.