If you’re feeling anxious and stressed out at the moment, you’re certainly not alone. A recent poll of UK adults found that even before social distancing measures as many as six in 10 people were experiencing higher than normal levels of anxiety. And post lockdown, it’s likely that even more people will be feeling panicked and unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic.
In a series of blogs, we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at ways you can limit the negative impact of the current situation on your mental health. The first of these being the practice of mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
Not to be confused with meditation, mindfulness is defined as being fully present and engaged in the current moment. It’s about focusing on what you’re doing right now, taking a moment to pause and breathe and really experience the moment with all of your senses.
When practised daily, mindfulness can be a way of finding joy in the smaller things in life, which can in turn make you have a more positive outlook on life. In short, it makes you happier.
What’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation?
Mindfulness is about focusing on something rather than nothing like meditation where the aim is the free the mind of distractions. It’s something you can do throughout the day and a way of living, rather than a ‘temporary state’. Living mindfully is about being aware of situations and choosing how you react.
Mindfulness for anxiety
There has been lots written on the topic of mindfulness for anxiety and mindfulness for health. If you do live with anxiety, it can be a brilliant way of reducing panic about the ‘what ifs’ and stopping yourself from catastrophising because you’re only focusing on what is happening now.
Mindfulness – getting started
Mindfulness is easy to do, you can do it on your own, you don’t need any equipment and you can start right away.
Anything and everything can be done mindfully, for example next time you make yourself a cup of tea or at your next mealtime try taking the time to really focus on how it makes you feel. What senses are you using, how does it make you happy, what do you love about it? Try to focus only on this one thing and if you feel your mind wandering bring it back to the present moment.
If you feel you might benefit from some mindfulness training or mindfulness courses, we’ve included links to some resources. There are also lots of useful mindfulness books, mindfulness apps and mindfulness music that can help you hone your technique.
So, what are you waiting for, why not try some mindfulness techniques today and see if it can help you feel more in control of your mental health. And remember, the situation we’re living in, is unlike anything most of us will have ever experienced before. Feeling anxious is understandable, but we all have the ability to control the way we respond to situations.
Headspace – https://www.headspace.com
Calm – https://www.calm.com
The Portal – https://entertheportal.com/app/
“Mindfulness” on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5ADGfFzKsUE4lBgkihMc8C
“Mindful Mix” on BBC – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06mtsqy
“Mindfulness” CD on Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Mindfulness-Various-Artists/dp/B075DR22G3
Meditation Is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important – By Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Mindful Day: Practical Ways to Find Focus, Calm, and Joy from Morning to Evening – By Laurie J. Cameron
Be Mindful & Stress Less – By Gina M. Biegel
Our Senses: An Immersive Experience – By Rob DeSalle