Take a minute and think of any three things that are bothering you at present. Now ask yourself – how many of those things are actually problems occurring in the here and now?
In today’s fast paced life where we often feel like we are running out of time, we often have difficulty enjoying the present moment. All too often we are either too busy anticipating what is to come or thinking about what has passed. Spending excess time in the past – or future – keeps us “in our heads” and leads to states of anxiety and depression.
What is Mindfulness?
The term “Mindfulness” is a translation of the Pali term Sati which is an important element in Buddhist healing methods. As an intervention strategy many online and personal therapists use mindfulness to treat an array of mental health conditions.
How Does Mindfulness Help?
Mindfulness helps by:
- Making us aware of the ‘self’
- Helping us to feel our surroundings and make full use of our senses
- Allowing us a break from the chatter of our minds, giving us a chance to calm down
- Allowing us to appreciate the beauty around us
- Practicing and refining our concentration.
Easy Mindfulness Exercises to Try
- Mindful breathing: Allow the breath to flow freely. Do not try to control it. Keep breathing and stretch your arms with every inhale and exhale. Focus all your attention on your breath. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath, without judgement.
- Mindful observation: Select any natural object in your visual field (flowers, birds, the sky, water, a flame, a flower or even a picture) and allow yourself to become consumed by its presence. Every time your mind gets distracted with thoughts, plans, or worries – just gently bring it back to observing the world around you.
- Mindful listening: This is simply selecting the music of your choice and listening to it on a low soothing volume. If it’s a song you’ve heard before, try to notice something new about it. Notice the intricacies and the complexities of the music. When the music finishes, observe and name the next five sounds you can hear in the area around you over the next couple of minutes.
- Mindful eating: Take a break from the conversation and close your eyes. Take a bite. Observe the nuances of the flavours. Notice how it feels and tastes on different parts of your tongue. Roll it around on your tongue and observe the texture of the food.
Mindfulness takes practice, but is well establish as an effective remedy for anxiety and depression. Start with 5 minutes per day.
For further information, contact an online psychologist or Gold Coast Psychologist if you are in the area. Check out my website PSYCoaching.
If you have any queries or suggestions on this blog, please share in the comments below.