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What does "mindfulness" mean?

Mindfulness is about living more in the present moment, appreciating the here and now, and not dwelling too much on the past or future.

While we have some control over the present, we cannot go back and change things that have already happened. We also have less control over future events than we might think.

This means we can spend a lot of energy worrying when it could be more beneficial

to focus on and enjoy what is happening right now.

Mindful living means paying attention to the present, appreciating what is happening and enjoying the simple things in life.

This can help us to feel calmer, reduce stress or anxiety, sleep better and might help us cope better with difficult situations.

Mindfulness tips and techniques

Here are some tips that you might find helpful when you start practising mindfulness.

1. Be more aware of the world around you

Take a minute to look around the room you're in, and really notice what's around you – the shape, colour and texture of each object.

You can do the same outdoors as spending time in green spaces can really help with your mental health. You do not need to live in the countryside – a trip to your local park can work wonders.

The aim is simply to focus your mind on the physical world around you rather than on the worries in your head.

Next time you're outside, try one of the following exercises to help you mindfully experience nature.

Pay attention to the air

When you're walking, really notice the air brushing past your skin. Notice how it feels against your cheeks – is it warm or cold?

Try moving faster or slower and see how the sensations are different.

Use all your senses

Choose a tree or plant and focus on it using all your senses. This could be as simple as smelling a flower, observing the different shades of green on the leaves and then feeling a petal between your fingers.

2. Be more aware of your thoughts

Try to take a step back from your thoughts, as if you're watching them come and go in your mind. This can help you feel less controlled by them.

You could also try naming them, especially ones that keep popping into your head.

For example, you might say: "Ah, here comes the thought that I always fail " Just acknowledging it may lessen its power over you.

Try this when something disappointing or stressful happens and see if it works for you.

3. Be more aware of your body

Struggling with our mental health can often mean we get caught up in our thoughts. Focusing more on what's going on in your body can help stop this.

This just means paying more attention to how your body interacts with the space you're in, and how things look, feel, sound and smell in the world around you rather than your thoughts about them.

The aim is to make you feel calmer and more centred and to focus your mind in the moment rather than letting it drift into worrying about other things.

Try these 2 exercises to see if they help.

Ground yourself

While sitting down, try placing your feet squarely on the ground an even distance apart. Really notice the weight of them. Think about their place on the floor and how they feel flat on the ground. Are they heavy or light?

Focus on your surroundings

If you're climbing stairs, run your hands along the banister and pay attention to how it feels. Notice the texture and temperature of the metal or wood and the feel of any small bumps or pieces of flaking paint.

Create a mindful routine

Try setting aside a small amount of time each day to do some of the exercises suggested above – and think up similar ones for yourself.

When you hit a difficult situation, try to put into practice some of what you have learnt, so you can react thoughtfully rather than emotionally. Hopefully this will lead to better outcomes.

To start with, you will find you need to consciously practise mindfulness. But over time, it should become more natural and eventually automatic.


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