Here at 28, we believe overall health and wellbeing needs to incorporate more than just eating right and working out. Taking time for yourself in this increasingly busy world is important and practicing mindfulness is here to help you relax and unwind.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is developed by purposefully paying attention in an open-hearted way to what is going on in the present moment – your thoughts and feelings, sensations and what is happening right now in your surrounding environment. This moment-to-moment awareness, non-judgmental self-observation and reflection helps you to move towards greater balance, better choices and focus on life.
Why is mindfulness useful?
Mindfulness helps us to develop acceptance and curiosity to all of our life experiences and the situations we find ourselves in. This way of seeing can free us up to respond with more clarity and wisdom, rather than acting (or reacting) out of habitual patterns. It opens up the possibility of more authority in our own lives and ways of working wisely and compassionately with difficulties in life so we can choose what is nourishing for ourselves and others.
People who practice mindfulness regularly have observed the following benefits:
- Reduction in stress, anxiety and other destructive emotions
- Reduction of depression (clinical trials are showing that in many cases mindfulness can be as effective as medication with no side effects)
- Reduction of insomnia and an increase in a sense of well-being
- Sharpening of memory and an increase in capacity to focus
- Improvement of emotional and social intelligence
- Increase in feelings of empathy and compassion
- Increase in confidence and emotional resilience
- Reduction of compulsive and addictive tendencies
- Effective support to long-term weight loss activities
How often should we practice mindfulness?
Practicing mindfulness is not just a good idea or a simple set of mind techniques but actually involves changing habits of mind and body. Change happens through practice and as with everything, the evidence suggests that the more you practice, the greater the effects.
How to practice mindfulness
Mindfulness practice is usually done sitting, lying down or even walking. Any activity can be made into a mindfulness practice when you bring your full attention to it. As we are all different, there isn’t a correct amount of time to practice try it for 5 minutes each day.
The most important thing is just starting.
Once you experience the benefits, you may choose to incorporate mindfulness moments into your routine. The deliberate act of slowing down your mind, bringing your attention and awareness to the present moment and observing the self is not only helpful when you want to relax and unwind, but is very effective when you are aiming to make behavioural transformation to a healthier way of life.