Stress Month: Mindfulness

Stress Month: Mindfulness

It’s the forth and final week of Stress Awareness Month and this week we will be focusing on mindfulness. You may have heard this word being used in a range of situations, or you may have been told to ‘be mindful’. But what does it really mean? We are going to uncover this simple concept, how it can be adapted into your everyday life, to achieve happiness in the small pleasures.

Now this is a pretty foreign term to most people – we have all heard of it but we have no idea what it actually means! But it is a really straight forward concept. It basically means being present and being fully aware in every situation. This allows us to enjoy every moment of the day, and to appreciate the small things going on around us, rather than sleep walking through life.

There are so many moments in your day that you may notice your mind wandering to the future or the past, to situations that may or may have not happened yet. This is taking you away from your actual life, the one you are living right now. Before you know it a week has gone past, then a month, then a year. Can you really remember what happened?

Just think back to your journey to work. Do you remember the weather that morning? What song was playing on the radio? Or were you too busy stressing about the day ahead of you? This is the perfect time to practice mindfulness, to enjoy your journey to work (strange concept, I know), but this is quality ‘me time’. Tomorrow morning on your journey into work, stop and take notice of the weather. If it is sunny then enjoy that sunshine, stop and let the warm rays kiss your face. If it’s raining then run to your car, and be happy you are in the warm shelter. Make yourself your favourite tea or coffee, play your favourite radio station, playlist or podcast, and just enjoy this half an hour with no screaming kids or moaning partner. Change your perspective on this moment, you’re not at work yet, so don’t put yourself there early.

Mindfulness isn’t just a half an hour a day practice, it is something you should try and practice in every situation. It is ok for your mind to wander to things and situations happening around you, you are human and you have a life, this does happen. If you feel yourself getting stressed or thinking about something you have no control over, bring yourself back to what you are doing at that present moment, and focus on this. This will stop the demons in your head running havoc with your anxiety, you are in control.

Mediation is an ancient practice that is all about mindfulness and being present, it’s not all yogis and monks, I promise. This is a trend that is really spreading in the Western culture, people are starting to take more time for themselves and therefore reaping in the benefits. A really popular app that is helping a lot of people is ‘Headspace’, this app takes you through meditation practices in short, step-by-step bursts. It can be really hard to sit still with a clear mind for any amount of time, so this app makes it a more manageable as it builds up your practice. It is important to make sure you are comfortable during your meditation, no matter how long you doing it for, there is nothing more distracting than a dead leg! Meditation cushions are amazing for your posture as they give you that extra lift, you don’t lose points if it’s not specifically for meditation, it can be any cushion you like! Velvet Ruffle Cushion - £24.99. It can be hard sometimes to get yourself into the zen mind-set for your meditation, a great way to prepare is by enjoying some simple yoga beforehand – read yoga article here

NEOM candles - £16-£45 (depending on size), Marmalade - £6.99-£19.99 (depending on size). Read aromatherapy article here

In this digital age it can be really hard to switch off and separate yourself from the outside world, even when you’re alone there is this faint buzzing in the corner grabbing your attention. You are not going to become this mindful, forever present guru overnight, it takes practice and time to integrate this new way of thinking into your everyday life. There are tons of books out their dedicated to mindfulness, they include loads of different tips and methods. The Little Book Of Mindfulness 2 by Alison Davies - £6.99, Stress Less by Jasmin Kirkbride - £9.99. I would recommend picking out a few methods that you can do every day, at the beginning make sure these are achievable and easy to integrate. Let’s say at first you select three mindful moments; using the ‘Headspace’ app every morning, being fully present in your journey to work, and taking an hour completely away from your phone. These are doable goals that will improve your quality of life, and after a period of time these will become ingrained in your daily routine. Slowly you will be able to integrate more and more mindful moments, and soon you will be floating on air in lotus position! 

Posted by Naomi Earnshaw
1st May 2019

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