What is Mindfulness?

 

Practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress, improve your mental and physical well-being, and even increase your overall happiness. Mindfulness can be defined as the quality of being present and being fully engaged with whatever you are doing at that moment…free from distraction and aware of your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. By teaching the mind to be present in the moment, you are allowing yourself to live more mindfully. By simply taking a breath, and not being so reactive to thoughts and feelings can be helpful when faced with challenging circumstances or difficult situations. Mindfulness is a way of living where you are able to step back and be in the present. 

 

Mindfulness, however, does not eliminate stress or other issues, instead, it focuses on becoming aware of your unpleasant thoughts and emotions that arise because of situations, and we train our minds to have more choices in how to handle situations at the moment. By practicing mindfulness, you have a better chance of reacting calmly when faced with stress or challenges. But remember, practicing mindfulness does not mean you will never get angry, instead, it allows you to be more thoughtful in how you want to respond rather than acting quickly and potentially regretting your decisions later. Meditation is the base ground for understanding and learning mindfulness. In most cases, people meditate to become familiar with the present moment.

 

Regularly practising mindfulness can help you to be present throughout the day, every day.



Why you should practise mindfulness



The hype around mindfulness and meditation is real and people who practise mindfulness regularly in their lives have often reported higher levels of happiness, patience, and compassion, alongside this, they tend to have lower levels of stress, frustration, and sadness. There’s plenty of research to back up mindfulness and its impact on people's well-being. Separate studies conducted by Northeastern University found that 3 weeks of mindfulness meditation increases compassion by 23% and reduces aggression by 57%. Furthermore, another study with college students found that 10 days of Headspace increased positivity and well-being



Mindfulness vs smoking



Many people who have quit smoking have found mindfulness helps them beat those cravings and work through stress and depression. Mindfulness is another way to help you manage withdrawal symptoms.

 

Being mindful can help you get over that nic craving. If a craving hits, we recommend:

 

  • Stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, and try to understand what’s going on right now around you. Try to understand how your body feels and the thoughts you are having.
  • Imagine you like an ocean wave, the feeling of it getting bigger and bigger. Eventually, it will become smaller and less crazy, just like that wave.
  • Recognize the physical feelings in your body that are causing the stress. Take a moment to step away from what you’re doing and notice your breathing. Get in tune with your breathing and let your mind connect to it.
  • Take a walk outdoors, unfortunately, mums were right about this growing up. Walk slowly and really focus on where you are. Notice what you see, hear, and smell. Take it all in!
  • Take your mind on a journey. Picture yourself at a beach or in a garden…anywhere you want. Then, close your eyes and try to think about what it would feel like if you were there right now. Focusing on something else can help you get through your craving easier.

 

Mindfulness and sustainable living

 

Sustainable living is linked nicely to mindfulness. When you start living and breathing mindfulness, you start to understand and see how the systems are shaped to make life unsustainable, which allows you to let go of those bad vibes.

 

Research connects mindfulness to sustainable behavior because you are aligning your values and are helping other people and the planet. It leads to less consumption, less impulse  and unnecessary buying, and brings you out of the day to day routines that may have once been unsustainable. If you begin practising mindfulness at every moment, you will not do everything right, you are just trying to make the next best decision instead of rushing.

 

Farewell note

 

Mindfulness is not a one size fits all approach to well-being. It can be a powerful wellness tool with a wide range of benefits, but that definitely doesn’t mean that it is right for everyone, much like everything in life. There are so many different mindfulness guides, apps, and other tools that can help you get started on your mindfulness journey. If you are interested in trying it, but do not know where to start, you can also talk to a therapist about mindfulness-based treatment options.