In today’s world, with the worries and stress that modern life can produce, it can be very easy to get ‘caught in the system’. Some stats predict that almost a quarter of a million people miss work with stress related conditions. It can be all too easy to rush around life without stopping to consider the impact this can cause until it’s too late.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness derives from Buddhist philosophies that place your attention and focus on the present moment, in a non-judgemental way. How often have you rushed around on ‘automatic pilot’, ignoring your surroundings? Or your focus is on past or future events that cause you to worry unnecessarily? Mindfulness is a practice based on paying attention to the here and now and your awareness of the present moment. You do not have to have any religious or spiritual beliefs to embrace mindful ways of living which can help you to lead a fuller life and with scientifically proved benefits for emotional well being.
How does this work?
You can start by focusing your attention on what is going on around you and inside you. Our minds can wander very easily and the excessive information we are given and multi-tasking roles all re-enforce the busy thoughts we have. This can almost become a battle against your own thoughts but with practice you can train your mind to be still. This is usually done with techniques such as awareness of breathing patterns, body ‘scans’ or simply taking a walk in the park and getting closer to nature. On a basic level this can mean noticing the sights and smells of your environment and re-training yourself to notice when your mind wanders to unhelpful places.
Mindfulness is a very current topic in western psychology and there are many ways to access practitioners. At Hertford Counselling we can refer you to individual counsellors who can guide you in mindful ways of living that can reduce stress levels.