An Intro to Mindfulness
Much like meditation and using our five senses to tackle anxiety, mindfulness is a free tool that can be used by anyone, anywhere – a must-have essential for getting through the rest of 2020. Much like meditation, it involves being as present as you can be in the moment at hand, an activity which is known to lower stress and anxiety levels. In fact, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence actually recommends practicing mindfulness as a way to combat depression.
What are the first steps in approaching a more mindful lifestyle? Well, the NHS website encourages you to take on these first steps –
- ‘Notice the everyday’
Try and take yourself off of autopilot for a short period of each day, perhaps on your commute or walk from home work. Notice your five senses, paying attention to things that you wouldn’t normally pick up on.
- Keep it regular
Pick a regular time of day to practice these habits.
- ‘Try something new’
Take yourself out of your comfort zone. Sit somewhere else for your daily lunch, or find a (comfortable) place to relax in your house that isn’t your reliable living room spot.
- ‘Watch your thoughts’
Don’t let the worries and thoughts crowd you. Take each one as they come.
- ‘Name thoughts and feelings’
Identify each thought or worry in order to recognise them, before letting the next worry come to mind,
- ‘Free yourself from the past and future’
Remember, the goal is to be present. Don’t let past anxieties or potential future worries take up your mental capacity.Feel like this could be working for you? Consider using some tools to help you out. These can still be free or low cost, such as the Headspace app which offers a free trial, or the Calm app for sleep and meditation. For further reading, the Oxford Mindfulness Centre’s website has plenty of tools for practicing mindfulness, as well as a weekly practice session every Wednesday. Good luck!