Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What is Mindfulness?

Stressed out? too busy for yoga? no time for caring for yourself? overworked? sad? Well this little nifty technique called "mindfulness" may just be the thing you need. My first exposure to this now "trendy" form of meditation, was through a therapy group called Dialectal Behavior Therapy, or DBT for short (this is a therapy originally created for people with borderline personality disorder, to help them recognise there emotions in situations and cope with them in a healthy way). Previous to this group, I had never heard of mindfulness. It is so important to mental wellbeing that they do round of minfulness in between each DBT group and now rehabilitation and meditation centers have bought it into practice, to help the every day person relax, feel grounded and more stable. Following is a brief summary of what mindfulness is, what it is helpful for and a few little techniques Ive learnt along my hospital and meditation course adventures.


  •  What is it? 
Mindfulness consists of paying attention to an experience from moment to moment — without drifting into thoughts of the past or concerns about the future, or getting caught up in “thoughts” or opinions about what’s going on. (About.com)

  • Who invented it?
The Buddha

  • Who is it useful for?
- People who tend to suffer from stress and anxiety
- Those in high pressure jobs
- Those learning healthy eating habbits
- Those who want to bring more awareness in to their lives
- People suffering from grief
- People suffering with mental illness

  •  When can I use this technique?
Any day, time or place. Because mindfulness is a technique completely controlled by you and needs no tools except your mind, means that you can do it anywhere, from making breakfast, having a shower or even in a work meeting.

  • Mindfulness techniques to try yourself
To become mindful, one must first begin to notice something simple, subtle, and constant. One's breathing is the best and most popular "anchor," or thing to notice. Start noticing and checking in with your breath at random times in the day, when you're not doing anything. Is your breath short or long? Shallow or deep? Fast or slow? Either way is okay.

The next step is to watch your thoughts as they appear and go away, rise and fall, just like your breathing. Take all thoughts in with the same ease. Watch your thoughts come to fruition, and ebb away. Try not believing your thoughts.

The best way to become mindful is to meditate. Whether it's for 5 minutes each day or more than an hour, it will help you become mindful of your breath, your thoughts, etc. During meditation, one sits on a chair or cushion, moving as little as possible, and focuses primarily on the breath or one's breathing mechanism is the primary focus. Thoughts will enter the mind, and they are gently but firmly pushed away, and focus returns to the in and out flow of breath. (wiki ed)

For more information on mindfulness: Self Compassion

Do you have any questions or an experience with mindfulness yourself? I would love to hear your feedback x

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