What is mindfulness?
Most of us can relate to feeling stressed and exhausted by the demands of life from time to time. Life can be hectic, when we are trying to juggle work, children, relationships, friendships and the information we receive on social media and in the news. Sometimes we cannot stop thinking about certain things, such as deadlines, a difficult conversation we have had, criticism we have received, or the preparation for a presentation. We can try not to think about it and not to worry, but then we just continue to worry about it anyway or the mind will find new things to worry about.
Mindfulness is used in Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It helps people to be more accepting and less judgmental. It also has been found to boost resilience, which is the ability to recover from difficulties and setbacks. Psychological studies have found that people who meditate regularly are generally happier and more contented.
Mindfulness contributes to an increased sense of well-being and being at peace, and is helpful in overcoming many mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety, stress, irritability, OCD and trauma.
What is involved in mindfulness?
Mindfulness is learning to pay attention, in the present moment, without judgment, to things as they actually are. In mindfulness we start to see the world as it is, not as we expect it to be, how we want it to be or fear what it might become. When we are mindful we don’t worry about the past or the future, but instead become aware of the present. It is about observation with acceptance and without criticism.
It is not complicated, and you cannot do it wrong. Mindfulness practice does not take a lot of time, but it requires some patience and persistence. It is helpful to practise it on a regular basis. There are many apps available with mindfulness meditations – examples can be found on the Resources page.
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