Mindfulness is paying attention, in the moment, to your current experience, without judgement. So, what does that actually mean in reality? An easy way to practice mindfulness is to focus on your breath.
Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and bring awareness to your breath. Notice all the experiences of your breath – air going in an out of the nostrils, the rise of fall of your belly and chest – straight away you will probably notice that you start thinking about all sorts of different things – this is sometimes called ‘monkey mind’ – our minds continually swing from one thing to the next like monkeys swinging through the trees. You simply notice that you are thinking and then come back to focusing on your breath, until ‘monkey mind’ takes over again. This is also where the non-judging part comes in – don’t give yourself a hard time about becoming lost in thought – this is normal, just come back to your breath, again and again.
Now you might be wondering why you’d bother. The reason is that in our busy lives, where there are so many distractions – especially with the continual ping of our phones – our attention is being pulled in many directions. To calm and soothe the nervous system, it is good to build a pause into our day. There are other ways to do this – when you are doing everyday tasks like brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, driving, simply bring focus to what you are doing.
There is a lot of research that shows that mindfulness practices are good for managing mental health issues, especially anxiety, as well as issues with chronic pain or addiction. Research also shows that incorporating a mindfulness practice can improve your wellbeing, happiness and resilience. Mindfulness can also help reduce stress.
For further information and a free mindfulness practice go to: https://www.headspace.com/mindfulness