What is mindfulness?
The Oxford Dictionary defines mindfulness as a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
How can I practice mindfulness?
1. WALK SLOWLY
Simply walk slower than you normally would. Pay extra attention to the things you notice around you. Even take an opportunity to stop and look more closely at something beautiful you see.
2. EAT WITH GRATITUDE
Before you begin eating take a moment to acknowledge whoever made you the meal. Consider the process the food went through to get to you and all the people who were involved right back to the farmer who grew the produce.
3. LISTEN ACTIVELY
Rather than listening to construct what you might say next, listen to hear what the person has to say. Trust that if a reply is necessary it will come to you from what you hear rather than what you think.
4. BREATHE DEEPLY
Pause to take 3 deep breaths. As often as you think of it during your day.
5. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR MOVEMENT
Notice what it feels like for your feet to touch the ground; how your muscles activate to move your limbs; how your breath changes with activity.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Jon Kabat-Zinn helped to bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine. He demonstrated that practising mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health, attitudes, and behaviours.
A special health report published by Harvard Health Publishing says that mindfulness can: help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties. Mindfulness improves mental health.