What Is Mindfulness And How Can It Help You?
A question I often hear from people is “what is mindfulness?”
It’s a term that’s been used a lot on news items, and magazine programs in recent times.
Basically it just means being aware of the present moment, and focusing solely on what you happen to be doing at the time.
However it’s not as easy at it sounds, as we all have hundreds of thoughts vying for our attention at any given time. However, being able to relax and completely ignore all the worrying and negative thoughts entering your mind can help you in so many ways.
Just imagine feeling calm and centered even if you’ve got a ton of problems to sort out. I think we all have problems, but if you can somehow detach yourself from them, it gives you chance to focus on finding solutions rather than panic.
A calm mind is far more able to deal with things rationally, and come up with creative ideas. Many people also ask if there’s a difference between mindfulness and meditation. After all, they both claim to clear your mind and help you focus.
Meditation though is more formal, in that you set aside certain times of the day to practice it. It also requires you sit a certain way, and be conscious of your breathing.
I practice meditation and yes it does make you feel calm and energised, but not everyone wants to spend the time it takes to become good at it. I am certainly not a master of meditation, and don’t practice it daily, but I do practice mindfulness.
It’s not in any way formal, and in fact you may even be practicing mindfulness without realising it! Have you ever sat down and watched your favorite tv drama and got really engrossed in it, or listened to your favorite music and felt calm and rested after? Both activities help you switch off from all your cares for a while?
As long as you’re following the drama and really paying attention to it, then you’re practicing mindfulness. The same goes for music.
A very good activity that’s perfect for practicing mindfulness is colouring. It’s also very creative and can often lead to flashes of inspiration.
By practicing a few simple tips you can transform your life. This may sound dramatic but they do work if you act on them. You’ll never be able to live a stress free life as there’s no such thing. Neither will you be able to stop emotional thoughts entering your mind, as you have no control over that.
You can however change your response to things. The way you react to a situation or handle difficult people can truly make a difference to your life.
Be aware of what’s happening
I know this sounds crazy, as you’re awake, right? Well yes you may be fully conscious but if your mind is cluttered with a thousand thoughts, chances are you’re not really paying full attention.
There are many everyday tasks you can do on autopilot. These are often repetitive and tedious. One example is washing dishes. Instead of just mindlessly sponging the plates with soapy water, really focus 100% on the task. Feel the warmth of the water and the texture of the sponge as it glides over the plates.
Let thoughts enter your mind, but if they’re negative you can choose not to entertain them. This is very similar to meditation, but instead of focusing on the breath or a mantra you’re focusing on a task.
Be mindful of how you think about yourself.
Negative self talk can quickly destroy your confidence. Having impossible ideals and comparing yourself to others is the best way to make yourself miserable! You will never be perfect, no one can be. You will make mistakes and fail, it’s part of being human. As long as you learn from your failures and don’t beat yourself up over them, you will continue to grow.
Accept your friends and family for who they are.
We all have annoying friends or family members who we’d love to change. It’s easy to get frustrated or upset with them. Just love them for who they are. Send loving thoughts their way instead of hurt or anger.
You’ll feel lighter as you won’t be carrying around all that negative emotion. Your level of vibration will also rise, attracting positive energy your way.
Achieve your goals with mindfulness
It doesn’t matter what your goals are, or how big they are, anything is possible if you have belief.
Mindfulness and meditation doesn’t just have to be about spirituality and enlightenment. You can use them to help achieve material goals.
But firstly you have to know exactly what your goals are. If you’re unsure of the path you want to take, use meditation to go deep within, as this is where you’ll find the answers.
Secondly, once you know what you want do some planning and goal setting.
Thirdly be aware of negative thoughts and doubts entering your mind, telling you why you can’t do it. Unless you’re super human I can almost guarantee this will happen.
The important thing is to let them fleetingly remain, but don’t give them permission to stay! By focusing on negative thoughts you’re giving them power.
Be open to new opportunities
Instead of being fearful of trying something in case you fail, be open to the idea and at least give it a go. This is often when we surprise ourselves and break new boundaries.
Often people fail to achieve their goals for fear of failure! Holding back, and putting off taking action won’t get you very far.
Mindfulness for depression
Depression can be hard to manage, and often drugs are prescribed to ease symptoms. The problem is, like any other drug, they can have side effects.
Research has shown that mindfulness can prove as effective as taking medication in many cases. Even if depressive episodes return, there are no side effects with practicing mindfulness.
I hope this article has helped you understand what is mindfulness, and that you’ll give it a go. As I mentioned previously you don’t have to be stressed to gain benefit.
If you want to find out more about mindfulness and what it can do for you, download my free ebook.