The Power of Mindfulness
It’s so easy to spend our time rushing around; rushing to get ready, rushing to get to work, rushing to get the housework done, rushing to get the food shopping in and so on. It’s also really easy to be lost in our own thoughts, worrying about the future, thinking about the past while trying to draw a new chapter. Then, before we know it, we’ve spiralled into deep negativity, which is associated with stress, anxiety and depression. Yet, it’s so hard to stop rushing and just be present; present with those around us, present with our own selves, present with our own thoughts, present with the sounds of nature right here, right now.
However, by being more mindful and taking more notice (literally) of the present world around us, we are then able to appreciate the little things in life that are going on and, this, in turn, can prevent negative thoughts, which can prevent stress and its consequences.
Mindfulness is slowly becoming more known in the Western world, but what exactly is it? Mindfulness is quite simply the act of being attentive to the present moment; not dwelling on the past, not projecting to the future. It sounds simple, but many people are actually not present and would find it extremely difficult to just "be".
To prove its importance, a few years ago, The New Economics Foundation came up with the ‘5 ways of wellbeing’, a evidence based project that aims to increase a person’s wellbeing, quite simply by that person meeting each of the 5 suggested ways.
The 5 areas are:
1. Connect (connect and communicate with others).
2. Be Active (engage in more physical activity).
3. Take Notice (look at your surroundings and the little things in life).
4. Learn (a new fact, a language, or read).
5. Give (give back to others).
These 5 areas are vastly important and are very achievable within a day-to-day routine and it is understandable why evidence has shown that those who meet these 5 areas regularly report a better sense of well being in health questionnaires than those who do not.
Mindfulness and taking notice does not involve any equipment and it certainly does not have to involve sitting in a room cross-legged with incense sticks burning – though you can do that if you want to! You can take notice in bed, during your commute, while getting your hair done or sitting in the park, pretty much anywhere!
However, if you’re struggling or find this concept odd (which it can be if you’ve never done it before), I would recommend that you simply spend 5 minutes wherever you are right now in silence, with no technology on (including being away from your phone) and progress from there. Or, perhaps attend a yoga/pilates class so that you can be properly instructed by an expert.
So, what things can we take more notice of, in order to be more mindful?
The change of season
The sounds of birds singing
The sound of our own breath
The leaves on the ground
The ripples in water
The shapes that clouds make
The texture of the ground
Can you think of anything more? Set a goal tomorrow and challenge yourself to take more notice of the world around you and how taking more notice makes you feel!
© 2017. Naomi Laws. All rights reserved.