We often seem to live our lives at a million miles per hour and sometimes let our days fly by, almost unconscious of what we are doing or have done. Mindfulness has become ever increasingly popular, with our awareness of the importance of our mental health and wellbeing on the rise.
So, what is mindfulness and how can you incorporate it into your busy schedule?
Mindfulness can be defined in different ways. Ultimately, it’s the ability to focus on the present moment whilst accepting ones’s feeling, thoughts and how your body feels. Alternatively defined as;
“Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis’’
(Marlatt & Kristeller, 1999).
Mindfulness and meditation can have many positive affects on the body including:
- Higher brain functioning with boosts to the working memory
- Lowered blood pressure
- Lowered anxiety levels
- Increased attention and focus
- Reduction in stress
So how can we put this into practice to get all the great benefits mentioned above?
Here’s a few practical ideas:
- At breakfast: stop watching the clock, smell your food, take note of the colour, the texture the taste.
- Brushing your teeth: the taste of the toothpaste, the sensation of the brush on your teeth, the texture under your feet as you stand there.
- Walking: put your phone or device away. What can you hear? What can you smell? How does the sunshine feel on your skin?
- Meditation: use an app to get you started with mindfulness, we recommend Headspace or Calm, which have guided meditation and can only take ten minutes of your day.
- Clinical pilates: take some time out and join a pilates class, connecting your mind and body. Yoga is also great for this.
- Go for a walk in nature: Walking its great for taking some time out and being mindful. It helps you connect with the season and stimulates all your senses.
by Francesca Wicker, Sports Therapist