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What Is Mindfulness And How Can It Help?

What Is Mindfulness And How Can It Help?

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What Is Mindfulness And How Can It Help?

 

Do you ever find yourself stuck in an infinite loop of endless thoughts? Or maybe you get caught up scrolling through social media and don’t actually appreciate the conversation happening around you, the beauty of the day or the deliciousness of your meal. It sounds like it might be a good time to get acquainted with mindfulness. 
 
What is mindfulness? 
 
The term mindfulness actually comes to us from Buddhist meditation practices, and has been adapted for use slightly. Mindfulness is characterised by self-awareness, focusing on the present, on your thoughts and feelings, then accepting those for what they are. 
 
Mindfulness techniques can help to hit pause for a moment, pay attention to the present and reduce distracting or overwhelming thoughts. Doing this can help with the management of stress, anxiety or depression, as well as many other areas of your life (more on that later!). 
 
How does mindfulness work?
 
Mindfulness is a way of focusing on the moment you’re in and noticing the things around you, which can take some ‘retraining’ of your brain. 
 
There are different ways to build mindfulness, which can be used in lots of different areas of your life. Mindfulness meditation is when you sit quietly and focus on your breathing, simply observing whatever is happening in that moment (noting your thoughts, sounds you hear, things you see).  
 
Mindful eating, or savouring, is a technique that helps you to focus on the food you are eating. How it looks, how it smells, the texture of it and the taste. By shutting out other distractions such as the TV, a magazine or your phone, you are able to concentrate on the food and on savouring the experience of eating. This is not only good for improving your digestion, it has also been linked to reducing the chance of overeating. 

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Mindful walking or practising mindfulness when you walk is another way to draw self-awareness into your day. Pick a walk you take regularly and indulge your senses while you stroll: look around you and pay attention to what you see. Listen to the sounds going on around you, and notice what each step feels like. 
 
Mindful breathing can be done anywhere, which can be helpful if you can’t be in your normal meditation space. Simply spend a few minutes focusing on your breathing. What does it feel like? What happens to your chest, or other parts of your body, as you breathe in and out? What does your breathing sound like?
 
How can it help?
 
Everyone can benefit from mindfulness in some way. In a time when everything feels non-stop, the planning-and-thinking-ten-moves-ahead kind of busy, slowing down is so necessary. It gives you a chance to experience life as it happens, so you don’t miss the everyday moments that actually make up life! 
 
When you become mindful, you can enjoy many benefits, like feeling less stress, having better sleep, improved memory and better problem-solving skills. Mindfulness has also been linked to both short-term and long-term benefits, from improved self-esteem to a reduced heart rate and clearer head.  
 
The more you make time for yourself and to embrace your reactions without judgement, the better at it you will get. As you do this more often, chances are you will become better at dealing with feelings of stress. 
 
The positive effects on mental AND physical health makes practising mindfulness something we should all consider! 
 

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

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