Mindfulness

‘Mindfulness’ is a word we hear a lot these days, but what exactly does it mean? Find out what it is, what the benefits of mindfulness are and how you can start to practise it.

Instructions

Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises.

Have you ever driven somewhere and realised when you arrived that you couldn’t really remember anything about the journey? Or have you ever eaten a whole packet of biscuits when you were planning to only have one? Or have you stayed up much later than you planned, or even all night, watching ‘just one more’ episode of a TV series? All of these are examples of mindlessness. When we live this way, we are not fully awake and not fully living our lives.

What exactly is mindfulness?

When we are mindful, we are more conscious of our thoughts, our actions and what is happening around us. We might notice a beautiful sunset or really listen carefully to what a friend is saying, rather than planning what we’re going to say next. We are also more aware of our own feelings and our thoughts. Jon Kabat Zinn, who has done a lot to make mindfulness popular, says mindfulness is: ‘Paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and without judging.’

So we are consciously deciding what to pay attention to, we are not worrying about the past or planning for the future and we are not trying to control or stop our thoughts or feelings – we’re just noticing them.

Why is mindfulness so popular now?

For most people life is getting busier and busier. Technology means that we always have something to do and there isn’t much opportunity to just ‘be’. People are often doing two or three things at the same time: texting while watching TV, or even looking at their phone while walking along the pavement. People are working longer hours and bringing work home. All this can make us stressed, and mindfulness can be a way of reducing this stress.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

Research shows that mindfulness reduces stress and depression. It can help you to concentrate, have a better memory and to think more clearly. It can also help people to manage pain better and to improve their sleep, and it can even help you lose weight because you won’t eat that whole packet of biscuits without thinking!

How to become more mindful

Mindfulness Day is celebrated on 12 September, so maybe that would be a good day to try a few mindfulness techniques and see if they make a difference. But, of course, you can try these on any day of the year.

A very simple technique that you could try right now is to close your eyes for a couple of minutes and count how many sounds you can hear. This will help to focus you on what is happening right now.

Another technique is to focus on a piece of food, typically a raisin. Instead of eating it without thinking, slow down. Look carefully at it and notice how it feels in your fingers. Smell it. Then put it on your tongue and taste it. Only then start to eat it slowly, noticing how it feels and how it tastes.

Both of these techniques force you to slow down and focus on the present moment, and there are plenty of other ideas you can find online if you want to try mindfulness for yourself. 

Discussion

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Sat, 14/05/2022 - 12:53

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Have you tried any mindfulness techniques? What was your experience?

mindfulness is good for our body. it improves your mood and releases your stress, and depression and it increases your focus in your work. but I don't do mindfulness because I do exercise daily in the morning and it helps me to relax and fit.

Submitted by sithutun on Tue, 07/12/2021 - 15:01

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Meditation is one of the best techniques that you can try to be mindful. Closing your eyes, focusing on the breath you take in and out for about 10 minutes. When you try to do this everyday, you'll find out that you are in a really peaceful and mindful condition than ever before.

Submitted by Esma on Thu, 30/09/2021 - 19:29

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I have anxiety problem, so i tried to be calm and stop thinking about the past and futur, one of the best techniques i tried is meditation, it's really make me mindful

Submitted by PARIMALA MADIAZHAKAN on Wed, 04/08/2021 - 05:43

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Yeah, just now I try the mindfulness technique. I'm closing my eyes and hear sounds around me. It can help me to be the focus on my surroundings.
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Submitted by Bignon on Mon, 21/06/2021 - 16:52

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I have never tried mindfulness technique and I've never heard about it before. But I try to use on of them to be more calmer. Work can be so fast-paced that you are tempted to do things without really thinking about them, automatically. More or must be aware of mindlessly threat and do something about it.
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Submitted by Dieudonné on Wed, 17/03/2021 - 07:09

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I am happy to find out this word because sometimes, I practice some mindful techniques in order to stay focus when attending scientific conferences or when reading a book. And let me confirm that theses techniques are powerful and helpful. So as to practice mindfulness, my lovely technique is trying to focus on the plaisir the lecturer have to talk about his work, it is easy to detect theses feelings by following carefully the tune of his voice and the happiness in his face; this really help you to gather a lot of knowledge about his work.

Submitted by Deb on Tue, 09/03/2021 - 21:56

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Mindfulness maybe the right answer to the big problem these days: anxiety. All of us, are always in a rush, technology and especially mobile phones don't help us to concentrate. Everything I do, I find that my mind is everywhere - lost in the future, or remembering the past. I think this creates anxiety, however practising mindfulness I think that in each moment consciously we can take a break and a deep breath. Then we should notice our anxiety levels going down.

Submitted by Thinthinmyoe on Mon, 25/01/2021 - 10:20

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I always meditate about ten minutes per day to be mindful.
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Submitted by danisep on Wed, 23/12/2020 - 01:54

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No, I have never try any mindfulness technique, but it's true, I'm reading or listening something and while I'm thinking in what is going to happen next, what is the next assignment or activity and not enjoy or take the time to live what I'm doing at the moment, so it's a good advice be step by step and take some time to relaxing.

Submitted by cittàutopica on Fri, 04/12/2020 - 11:47

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I think mindfulness is a "laical" variation of the meditation, which is an experience of many religions. For this very reason it's no matter of adopting some techniques only, but it aims to pursue a way of life very different from one that we usually follow.