What is mindfulness?

May 6, 2022
Asifa Rapaiee

About the author: Michelle loves working with young people and those on a path of self development, to connect the mind, emotions and body energies. She treats everyone as unique and enjoys how she works in a therapeutic way to help people.

How busy is your mind? Is it ever quiet and still? Are you thinking all the time? What are your thoughts saying? Does it feel like your mental energy, your mind, is working overtime?

These are questions to take your awareness to your mind and notice how active it is.  In today’s world, our minds are constantly full and chatting away to ourselves, without giving us a break and some peace. Always thinking.

Mindfulness means being totally in the present moment, in the now. For example how does it feel if you bring yourself into right now, take a deep breath in and out. Then take three more breaths in and out. So now you are being mindful on your breathing. Note how that feels for you. Now take this a stage deeper by breathing in for a count of four, pause, then breathe out for a count of seven. Repeat seven times. Try it and note how you feel.  

You are now practicing mindfulness. Your awareness is on your breath and it is very relaxing and calms your nervous system right down. Be aware of sensations in your body. It would help to try this in a quiet place where you are sitting comfortably, without any disturbances or distractions such as phone ringing.  

When you drink something like a cup of tea, being mindful means focusing on just drinking your tea, pick up the cup, sip it, enjoy the taste and put the cup down. Enjoying every sip of tea. That is being mindful on drinking your cup of tea. Same applied to eating. Do you wolf your food down your neck or could you try being mindful by focusing on picking up your knife and fork, cutting your food, put the food in your mouth and chew slowly, focusing on what you are doing only. This effects how you digest your food through your body. Meaning if you eat mindfully rather than rushing and focusing on a stimulating distraction such as your phone or television, then this is mindful eating and is more healthy for your digestive system.  

Mobile phones take you more in to your head space and are therefore very stimulating mentally. Such an overload of information. Studying takes mental energy so it is good to give yourself some mindfulness practices, starting with above. 

Being out in nature like the woods, in open countryside, on the beach, on top of a mountain is an easy place to be in the present moment. Even in your garden or in the park. Feel your feet on the earth, notice nature like the grass, plants and trees, or any animals such as birds. Feel the breeze on your face. Breathe as above, and be mindful out in nature. Note how that feels.

So being fully in the present and aware of what you are doing is mindfulness. If you were to take a few minutes regularly each day to practice as above, then you will feel positive effects of mindfulness such as being calmer, connecting more to your feelings, you will sleep better and be able to concentrate easier.  

If you suffer with anxiety and panic attacks, then you can try and practice mindfulness such as the breathing focus, and see how that can help you with re-programming your thinking habits, which will happen over a period of time. 


Useful resources:

Mindfulness in the home

Why children need to learn mindful breathing

Children and anxiety


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