Does Mindfulness make you healthier?
Mindfulness has come into the limelight with Olympians like America’s Deena Kaster mentioning the importance of it to keep their focus, business gurus such as the late Steve Jobs proclaiming the importance for creativity and movements such as Action for Happiness in the UK showcasing how mindfulness can help you to feel happier.
Taking action mindfully
How many times have you gone in the shower and just focused on the act of washing and the feeling of the water on your skin? Stop next time and ask yourself are you mentally preparing your to do list, shopping, planning your weekend or are you just being in the moment. Mindfulness is the awareness of just that moment. Many people find they are more mindful when they walk, run or do an activity such as fishing, sewing or yoga.
But what actually is Mindfulness and does it differ to meditation?
Mindfulness is a state of mind achieved by focusing on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts and sensations.
Meditation has a similar definition of focusing your mind for a period of time in silence or with the aid of chanting. Both can be used to reduce stress and to create focus for work and learning.
The key difference between the two is that Mindfulness is experienced in both quiet meditation and by making conscious – or mindful – changes to the actions that we take in our day to day lives. Living in the moment, becoming fully aware of the moment you are experiencing – and switching off the busy mind from the day to day.
How can this help you?
This ability to just be in the moment – gives your brain and body important breathing space – even just ten minutes a day can make a difference to your wellbeing and productivity. You may think you are taking a breathing space when you stop for a coffee or stop for lunch but are you still checking your emails, working at your desk, checking your phone for the latest social media update – physically or mentally?
Our busy lives result in an almost constant stream of internal chatter thought about what are we going to do next or what are we going to become or how well or badly we just did. This chatter means we’re often not that aware of what is around us, and what happening in the here and now. We are likely to be missing out on loads of the good stuff – and shutting out the bad stuff we need to be aware of to evolve and progress.
When we are more fully aware of the moment – we become conscious of all that we see, hear, touch and taste alongside what is happening inside us – our thoughts and feelings –which makes things shift. We can become more relaxed, more creative, sleep better and learn easier. Mindfulness can also help us to improve relationships with others and feel happier.
Anyone can benefit and it need take only a few minutes day. Be patient with yourself as it is often hard at first. When you keep at it you’ll feel the benefits in many areas of your life.
At the Haven Wellbeing Hub you can discover more about Mindfulness and Meditation through our Monday meditation evening group – starting 21st September, a day of mindfulness and meditation on 26th September and a new Saturday morning meditation drop in session, here in Wokingham once a month – the first Saturday of the month. Contact us to find out more or to book your place.
Guest blog by Judy Claughton and Tina Ford, Meditation and Mindfulness