Mindfulness is not a new thing, far from it. It has actually been practised for over 1000 years and the benefits are still widely promoted today. In fact, due to the modern world in which we find ourselves, the environments we live in, and the expectations that we face every day you could say that mindfulness is needed now more than ever.

Although mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism and meditation, you don’t need to have any specific spiritual beliefs to try it out.

Mindfulness is something that we do naturally, although we may not always be aware of it and therefore often not reap the benefits.

To be mindful simply means to be aware - aware of the present, aware of your surroundings, aware of your behaviours.  It means that you don’t need to think about whether something is good or bad, just be aware of it and have an attitude of acceptance and openness.

Why should I practise mindfulness?

We now live such busy lives and many of us find that we never really ‘switch off’. There is always something to do, deadlines to meet, and expectations to fulfil. Many of us have become guilty of rushing through life without stopping to notice the important things around us.

Is this one of the reasons why so many of us are struggling with this current lockdown situation?  We may be faced with a different set of challenges now; it may be that many of the deadlines and expectations that were so important to us have changed or may not even feature at all.

The theory behind mindfulness is that by using a range of techniques you can bring your attention back to the present,  notice how your thoughts come and go,  what your body is telling you and ultimately create a space between you and your thoughts.

Research shows that those who practise mindfulness techniques, notice a reduction in stress and an improved mood.  Applying these strategies across various elements of our lives has also been linked to a host of different benefits including boosting body confidence, overcoming addictions, improving relationships and managing emotions and subsequent behaviours.

Mindfulness is also now a common method taught by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy practitioners and counsellors.  Practising mindfulness as part of this therapy can help to train our brains to deal with our emotions and behaviours at that point of heightened stress or anxiety.  

So, we could just find that practising mindfulness helps us to reconnect with our bodies and put us back in control of our lives and how we behave.