What is mindfulness and how can I be more mindful?

28-May-2018

Mindfulness is being in the present. Mindfulness can bring us greater awareness as we purposely focus on what we are doing in a non-judgemental way. When we pay attention to where we are and what we are doing, we become less reactive to what is going on around us.

Mindfulness is something we can all do and the more we practice, the easier it gets.

 

Benefits of mindfulness

Mindfulness may help you to:

  • Have greater clarity
  • Improve your decision-making
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Enhance your attention and concentration
  • Boost your creativity
  • Relax
  • Improve your wellbeing.

 

How can I be more mindful?

Most of us go about our day without paying attention to some of the things we are doing. We’re often doing a few things at once (folding clothes while watching TV and keeping an eye on the kids) and we may go on ‘auto-pilot’ as our mind wanders.

By being more mindful, we are paying attention to what we are doing. When we are mindful, we focus on our senses – what can we see, touch, smell, taste and hear in the moment?

You don’t have to stop what you’re doing to try mindfulness. Instead, you can work it into a daily routine. Try it when you are washing the dishes, going for a walk or waiting for the train.

Here are some steps towards mindfulness to get you on your way:

  • Set aside a few minutes
  • Observe the present moment
  • Pay attention to your senses – what can you see, smell, taste, touch or hear?
  • Don’t judge what you notice
  • Accept things for what they are
  • Let your thoughts and feelings come and go
  • If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the present moment.

 

I am finding mindfulness difficult

When you first start practising mindfulness, it may be difficult. It can be hard to fully focus on what you’re doing and not get distracted. It is also common for your thoughts to wander. You can start in small increments each day and see if it gets easier for you.  There are also apps that can help you on your mindful journey: Calm, Stop, Breathe & Think, and Smiling Mind are a few examples.

If mindfulness isn’t working for you, don’t despair – it is not for everyone.

 

If you are struggling and want to speak to a professional counsellor, Suicide Call Back Service is available 24/7. Call us on 1300 659 467.