Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware and attentive to what is happening at the moment, and is known to be helpful for those experiencing anxiety or stress. When we get overwhelmed and caught up with things that are happening around us, it can be mentally draining to constantly problem-solve, plan, and worry.
How does mindfulness work?
Often mindfulness gets misinterpreted as being all about the mind when it is actually more about the mind-body connection. When we are in a panic state, mindfulness will help to calm ourselves down, and adjust ourselves to be able to cope in or to increase tolerance to the anxiety. Ultimately, we will learn to handle stresses and overwhelming emotions much better as we are more aware and can anticipate such fluctuations. In addition, studies have shown that practicing mindfulness may also lead to changes in brain structure that improves memory, emotion regulation and body and mind awareness. This is due to the enhancement of connections when continuously thinking in ways we have avoided before.
Benefits of mindfulness:
- Reduces stress and/or pain
- Improves insomnia and overall health
- Allows us to perform better
- Provides a safe space to relax
Mindfulness should be integrated into our way of life and be used from time to time, or whenever necessary.
✽ Structured mediation:
- Body scan
- Lie on your back with your palms facing up and focus on your body, starting from your head, to your toe.
- Walk back and forth on a 6-12 meters stretch
- Focus on the movements you make with each step.
- Find a comfortable place and sit cross legged with your arms placed on your legs.
- Keep your upper body straight and focus on the flow of energy through your body.
- Feel your chest rising and falling with each breath
- Using the same concept as the other three, focus on things around you instead, thinking about their colours, shapes and sizes.
- Think of your troubles, but try to place the thoughts at the back of your mind, and bring forward the thoughts of items around you.
✽ Non-structured mindfulness:
- Small practices daily (e.g. taking a breath before answering the phone, slowing down to enjoy the food you are eating)
- When you are feeling overwhelmed, regardless of where you are, it can be helpful if you focus on your breathing so that you focus less on the stressful thoughts
Try out a short mindfulness practice with Dr. Hindman by watching the video attached!