Have you heard the word ‘mindful’ being bandied about in magazines, newspapers and on social media? I’ve noticed a distinct increase in people talking about how to be more mindful and the benefits of practising mindfulness.
A quick explanation of mindfulness is being in the moment. Okay, that was really quick. A slightly longer explanation is that being mindful is about noticing what’s happening right now in your life, not dwelling on events in the past and not fast forwarding into the future. It’s not something to do all the time – how would you know what to buy now for tomorrow’s dinner? But being mindful a handful of times throughout the day can have a significant positive effect on you.
I’ve been making an effort to practice mindfulness for the last few months, it’s only when you give it a go that you realise just how much your head is in the past or future (anyone else load the washing machine but forget to turn it on?). By focusing on what you’re doing right now you can lower your stress levels and improve concentration. Typically it’s when I’m feeling particularly wound up about something that I think to be mindful, but when I do, I really notice how I feel calmer and actually happier. If you’re prone to bouts of anxiety with thoughts running away with you I’d really recommend you give mindfulness a go, it can really help ease those feelings because you’re thinking about what’s real right now, not getting anxious about what may happen in the future.
There’s some proper science behind mindfulness, you don’t have to take my word for it, take a look at Be Mindful and Action for Happiness for more info. If you’d like a handy reminder to practice mindfulness there are some great apps out there to try out. I have The Mindfulness App, Buddhify and Headspace apps on my phone and switch between them depending on how I feel and what I think will help. It’s not specifically about mindfulness but Happify is a fun website with lots of ideas to help you think positively and raise your happiness levels.
If you are trying to be more mindful or have techniques for living more in the moment I’d love to hear about them!