Mindfulness

MINDFULNESS

Milton Keynes

Set Your Mind Free! 

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What is mindfulness

Mindfulness may be described as a mental and physical technique you can use to concentrate on the present moment. Being in the moment allows you to be aware of, to accept and to cope with challenging thoughts feelings and emotions.

Undertaking mindfulness as a daily practice is simple and effective, taking just a few minutes formal practice each day and also being practised informally as you go about your daily life. It is a really helpful tool to help you with self-care.

All about Mindfulness

Mindfulness could also be thought of as meditation, relaxation and calmness.  In one form or other it has been around for 2,500 years and has been part of mind health since the 1970s.

Mindfulness can help in so many ways such as:

  • Minimising stress
  • Increasing focus
  • Improving general wellbeing and health
  • Decreasing anxiety
  • Improving sleep.
  • Managing depression
  • Helping with addiction.

What mindfulness isn’t:

  • Mindfulness isn’t a religion, however It can be used as a part of spirituality, but mindfulness is a strategy that anyone can use.
  • Mindfulness isn’t about having an empty mind although many people give up as they believe they cannot “think of nothing”. Just let your thoughts and feelings come in and out without being judgemental.

    How mindfulness works

    How easy it is to feel overwhelmed. Dwelling on the past and how things used to be, reliving the future, and fearing how it may be without any evidence it will be awful!  All these things may lead to anxiety, depression and or panic. about the future, especially during periods of depression or anxiety.  Then your mind may get overwhelmed by stress.

    Focus on the here and now

    If you focus on your breathing, relaxing all your muscles and on what is around you (not inside your head) you can learn to let those unhelpful and negative thoughts and feelings  come and go without trying to control them or judge yourself.

Informal mindfulness

Informal mindfulness is something you can do easily every day without much effort. It’s really helpful when you’re in the middle of a busy schedule and feel overwhelmed.

The more you practice the more you grow your “calm muscle”.  Below are some ideas for informal mindfulness:

  • When you first wake up in the morning: before you get out of bed, bring your attention to your breathing.
  • Notice changes in your posture. Be aware of how your body and mind feel when you move from lying down to sitting, to standing, to walking.
  • Use any sound as the bell of Mindfulness. Whenever you hear a phone ring, a bird sing, a train pass by, laughter, a car horn, the wind, the sound of a door closing—really listen and be present and awake.
  • Throughout the day: take a few moments to bring your attention to your breathing. Observe five Mindful breaths.
  • Whenever you eat or drink something, take a minute and breathe. Pay attention as you eat, consciously consuming this food for your physical health. Bring awareness to seeing your food, smelling your food, tasting your food, chewing your food, and swallowing your food.
  • Notice your body while you walk or stand. Pay attention to the contact of the ground under your feet. Feel the air on your face, arms, and legs as you walk. Are you rushing?
  • Bring awareness to listening and talking. Can you listen without agreeing or disagreeing, liking or disliking, or planning what you will say when it is your turn?
  • Whenever you are in a queue, use this time to notice standing and breathing. Bring attention to the rise and fall of your abdomen. Are you feeling impatient?
  • Be aware of any points of tightness in your body throughout the day. See if you can breathe into them and, as you exhale, let go of excess tension.
  • Bring Mindfulness to each activity. Focus attention on daily activities such as brushing your teeth, washing up, brushing your hair, putting on your shoes, doing your job.
  • Notice nature. The colours of the leaves and flowers, birds flying, insects buzzing, really look at them as if you were a child again.

Formal Mindfulness

Formal mindfulness meditation is most useful if practiced daily.

It strengthens our concentration and gives us the opportunity to do nothing but be present in the moment. “Be” is the operative word here: “be” and not “do”. We all have plenty of “do-ing” in our lives, and not enough “be-ing.” We need both. Not only do we encounter ourselves and the world differently when we are be-ing rather than do-ing, we also learn quickly that the secret to living well is to “be” in the centre of our “do-ing”. Or, to put it another way, we learn that the secret to a happy life is to be completely, deeply still, and present in the heart of whatever we are doing. We stop, come to rest. Only when we can rest from our mind’s constant chattering can we be present in the moment.

 To support your formal practice at home, it helps to find a special place. You don’t need much room — a place for a cushion or chair or sofa. Remember, meditation should be enjoyable and rewarding (if it isn’t, you won’t want to do it), so make the space as inviting as possible. Try to make sure that your meditation set-up encourages you to relax.

The effects of mindfulness

The benefits of mindfulness meditation have been talked about for many, many years, but recently neuroscientists have found evidence that mindfulness meditation helps to:

  • preserve the brain’s logic and thinking
  • Increase the parts of the brain linked to learning, thinking, calming high emotions,  understanding, benevolence and perspective.
  • Reduces Panic, general anxiety and low mood
  • improves focus and memory.

Getting started with mindfulness

To start having mindful moments, identify an everyday activity where your thoughts tend to wander into painful memories, ruminate on problems or worry about the future. It could be when you are brushing your teeth or eating lunch.  Just use the mindfulness starter for 10 below,  until it becomes habitual and notice how calm you feel.

A mindfulness starter for 10

  • Focus on what your 5 senses of sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.
  • If your mind wanders, that is normal. Being aware of yourself in the moment is part of mindfulness. No need to judge just come back to the here and now.
  • Let your thoughts come and go. No need to get caught up in them. They’re just thoughts.
  • Notice your breathing and just allow the air to go in and out naturally.
  • It is challenging to start with, but if you are consistent it will help you.

Mindfulness for Better Mental Health

  • It frees the mind. Usually our minds are really busy.
  • Puts you in touch with your own self.
  • Gives you new perspectives on life
  • It leads to openness, and acceptance. …
  • It increases your concentration

If you’d like to find out more about Mindfulness contact our Milton Keynes office at 01908 265410. We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss how it could work for you and make the difference you’re looking for.

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