I am back with a Psychology/mental health related post after so long! Many of you may have heard the term ‘mindfulness’. But what does it mean? Mindfulness is consciously/deliberately being aware of something, but not thinking about it. It is being aware of what is happening and attending to whatever is happening. It involves paying attention to our own mind and body, being in equilibrium with the outside world.
Mindfulness is developing this capacity of attention and awareness, as generally, we always focus on thoughts rather than awareness. An example: when you eat something, let’s use a raisin as an example, are you aware of the various sensations you experience? Or do you taste, chew and swallow without much thought? Being mindful when eating a raisin would involve being aware of the texture of the raisin, how it feels against your tongue, what bursts of flavour you experience, how heavy it is in your mouth.. etc. Often we work in ‘automatic pilot’, having our attention somewhere else and not attending to 'here and now'. For example, you could be doing the ironing but not have your full attention to the task as you are concentrating on what you might cook for dinner.
This is some delicious hot cookie dough. This photo was appropriate for this post because I was naturally very mindful while eating this because it tasted so good :P
Mindfulness can help you to skilfully let go of your worries and negative thoughts, but it requires practice and being done regularly. Mindfulness based therapeutic interventions are also used by Psychologists to help patients. It is a good technique to reduce stress. You can try some simple mindfulness techniques yourself to become more aware of yourself and of what you are currently doing.
- Pay attention to your breathing. Just focus on your breath. Allow the pressure from inside to leave and feel your breathing become calmer and relaxed. Be aware as you inhale, what happens inside your body (the air filling your lungs)/the physical sensation, how it feels, and as you exhale try to fully experience that sensation too.
2) Activities – e.g. walking outside:
- Focus your full attention on the experience of walking. Feel the ground in contact with your feet, feel the bend of your knee as you walk. What do you feel on the ground as you walk? Is the path smooth, is it uneven, and are there leaves you walk over? Feel the pressure of each foot as you change from left to right when you walk.
It may sound a bit exaggerated giving so much attention to daily tasks, but try it. You don’t have to share it with anyone. You don’t have to focus too much on it either. You just need to be more aware your experiences and sensations in the current moment.
That’s it for now! This was different post to usual, hope you enjoyed it.
Take lots of care!