Most of us spend each day rushing through life and thinking about the tasks we need to do. However, if you pay more attention to the moment you are in and think about your own thoughts, feelings and the world around you, then you can improve your mental well-being.
This type of awareness is known as mindfulness, which helps us to enjoy life more and have a better understanding of ourselves. There are steps you can take to develop mindfulness in your own life.
One of the first steps in mindfulness is reconnecting with out bodies. We can easily lose touch with how our bodies are feeling and spend most of our times living in our head. Our thoughts take over and drive our feelings and emotions and this dictates our behavior. So how do we reconnect with our bodies? Well you need to start becoming aware of the sights and sounds of moment. You may be doing what feels like a boring task at home, but if for example you are sweeping the floor, just notice the texture of the broom and the sound of the bristles on the floor. Or if you are cooking a meal what are the tastes and smells you are experiencing. Take in everything around you and experience it in that moment.
When we start to live in the present moment we are able to experience things in a way we have never done before, and perhaps appreciate something that we would have previously taken for granted. It also helps us to become more aware of the thought that are going around in our heads and creating the feelings we are experiencing.
Once we start to pay attention to our thoughts we will notice their patterns. Over time we can train our mind to notice when these thoughts start taking over and create negative emotions. Brooding over something is a prime example of how we let our thoughts take over. If the thing we are thinking about cannot be changed, then spending time thinking about it is not helpful in any way. All it will do is create stress or anxiety. Once you become aware of this you can hugely reduce negative emotions in your life. Which in turn has a positive effect on the way you behave towards yourself and others.
It’s common for people to have issues they find hard to let go of, but using the mindfulness technique can really help to deal with them in a more productive way. If we notice that the stress is being brought on before it takes hold, it is much easier to deal with it.
The first step to mindfulness is reminding yourself to take notice of the world around you, your thoughts, feelings and the sensations you experience in your body. We can do this at every moment of every day. Even noticing the air brushing our bodies as we walk along the street. Or taking the time to appreciate the taste and texture of the food we eat.
You should pick a regular time each day that you set out to practice being mindful. It could be getting ready in the morning, walking to work, cooking the dinner, cleaning the house or tidying the garden.
If you are just sitting around doing nothing, just notice your breathing, the way you are holding your body, your head, your shoulders, the taste in your mouth. What can you hear, what can you smell. You can practice mindfulness anywhere at any time and the more often you do it the more of an improvement you will experience in your mental health.