When I first heard of mindfulness I thought it was something that was a little bit hippy and not really for me. But this year I’ve come to realise that being more mindful is awesome and something that I’m sure we could all benefit from. Mindfulness can be used as an effective treatment to help relieve stress and anxiety. If sitting in the corner meditating isn’t your thing, NO worries. Mindfulness isn’t just about meditating! There are loads of ways to be more mindful. Here’s a little on what you need to know about the benefits of mindfulness and how you can incorporate mindfulness into your life. I’m no expert, just a beginner, but here’s what I’ve learned.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment- University of Berkeley Greater Good
Mindfulness has it’s history in Buddisim, but it’s becoming more mainstream as a way to help relieve stress, anxiety, depression and even help with pain management. It has been found to help improve focus, and may even help your immune system (check out the links to research here).
Incorporating mindfulness into your life
I never thought that I’d spend money on a colouring in book for an adult. But colouring in is the new way to be mindful. Colouring is a simple, repetitive activity that helps calm the mind and encourages you to be in the moment. The Mindfulness Colouring Book, by Emma Farrons has become an international best seller! Who would have thought colouring would become so pouplar again. You can buy the Mindfulness Colouring book here for $18.99.
For a colouring in book that fits in your handbag, Pocket Patterns is a nice wee book too. It’s simply lots of different abstract patterns (40 in total) in a compact book. It’s a reasonable price too, you can get it here for $13.99
2. Mindfulness Apps
After experiencing some anxiety this year, I decided I needed to give mindfulness exercises a real crack and downloaded the app Smiling Mind. There are lot of different options in this app for different mindfulness meditations, and I’m trying to do one each day, although I do forget some days (and sometimes, for quite a few days…). The app is well designed and easy to listen to with both longer and shorter meditations. Bonus is it is free and if you’re wanting to give mindfulness meditation a go, I’d recommend it. It’s available on both iphone and android.
Yoga is something I’ve done on and off over the past few years, but I’ve never really got into it. BUT it is definitely on the ‘to start again’ list. Yoga’s flowing, rhythmic moves are not only good for the body, but good for the mind too. Yoga teaches you to focus on your breath, and some classes also include mindfulness meditation techniques that help relax the mind.
In today’s busy and stressful lives, even taking time out to enjoy a quiet walk helps keep you feeling balanced.
Do you practice any mindfulness techniques? How do you stay balanced?