Mindfulness is the practice of taking your attention off the many distractions going on around you and focusing inwards to become conscious of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment. Mindfulness has been shown to positively improve mental and physical health. Benefits of mindfulness have been reported in areas of eating disorders, binge eating, stress, anxiety, depression, pain, high blood pressure, heart disease and sleep disorders.
Unlike meditation, mindfulness does not require you to find a quiet place or even to stop what you are doing. Rather, it is about being more conscious of yourself as you carry out your day-to-day activities. Put simply, the principles of mindfulness are to:
- Focus on the present moment. Yesterday has gone. Tomorrow is not here yet. By constantly living in the past or worrying about tomorrow, we are missing the opportunity of focusing on today and living in the present. Today is a new opportunity to make good past mistakes. Today is the time to focus on solving today's problems. Tomorrow's problems may never materialise. Switch off auto pilot and become fully aware of what is going on inside your mind and body. Become aware of your external environment and of sensations, thoughts, feelings, emotions and physical stimuli.
- Pay attention without passing judgment. Accept what is, without dwelling on the past or thinking or worrying about the possible future.
- Know that our thoughts are just passing mental events, not reality itself.
Mindfulness stops you rushing from task to task, pre-living the future. Start practicing mindfulness to help you focus on living in the present and to help enhance your enjoyment of life.