Often finding yourself lost in the constant rush of day-to-day life? Planning your evening on the bus ride home? Folding your laundry with one eye on the children? You can too easily lose grasp on the present moment and feel like you’re living in an out of body experience. If you often find yourself feeling anxious, irritable, or always feeling tired, mindfulness could be the answer for you.
Mindfulness is the practice of clearing your mind of all the hustle and bustle for a short moment of quiet relaxation and re-connecting with yourself and the moment, however you’re feeling. Mindfulness derives from the wider umbrella of meditation. With its roots belonging to Buddhism, with the objective of taking the mind away from pre-occupations and appreciate tranquillity and a far-reaching perspective on life. But unlike meditation mindfulness can take as little as ten minutes and leave you feeling refreshed and revitalised.
But I know what you’re thinking, this is all some millennial, tree-hugging foolishness. You’re quite possible picturing a long-haired individual, dressed in tie-dye, clutching his battered Ram Dass novel eager to tell you how at peace with nature they are. But I’m here to give you a polite nudge in the opposite direction. Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and offers an adaptive response to daily stressors. Studies show it can contribute to a positive attitude in all areas of life helping savour the pleasure in life working as a coping mechanism to adverse events. Also, it has been used as a treatment for depression as it helps regulate emotions while boosting resilience, empathy and self-esteem. Perhaps most importantly the therapy provides an opportunity to step back from negativity and seek clarity focusing on the here and now not worrying about past and future stresses. We’ve got, among others, Professor Jon Kabat-Zimm to thank for bringing the method into mainstream practice. Through his work it has been found participants find it easier to accept life experiences while seeing positive changes in mood and behaviour, so from all of us here at Chester PLUS cheers Professor Jon!
So now I’ve got you all tantalized and in awe of what improvements this brief timeout could make on your outlook, here’s a little beginners outline I’ve put together.
Basic Mindfulness meditation- Take a seat and make yourself comfortable, sit quietly and close your eyes. Concentrate only on your natural, deep breathing. Allow thoughts to come and go but returning your focus to returning to your breathing.
Body sensations- Notice subtle changes, an itch or tingling. Scan your body from head to toe making note of each of these and let them go without judgement.
Sensory- Acknowledge your surroundings, what you hear, smell and taste. Be aware of the moment and let these pass. Return your concentration to your breathing.
For something with a bit more structure, perhaps you’d like to be guided through? Click on the video below…
So if you’re looking to reduce anxiety, improve concentration and increase creativity a short period of mindfulness every day might just be the key you’ve been missing to unlock a more zen you. Give it a go!
Written by Jonathan Blease
*disclaimer media not created or owned by Chester PLUS*
*Photo credit Enable Therapy Services*
*Video credit The Honest Guys*