Ways to Practice
Mindfulness can be practiced throughout the day by simply bringing intention and attention to whatever you are doing. The intention is to try and observe without judgement, the attention is your focused awareness on the experience of the present moment.
So, for example, you may try mindfully walking by focusing your attention on the experience of every step, noticing how your body feels, feeling the weight and movement of your legs, observing the sensations on the bottom of your feet as they meet the ground, whilst also staying openly aware (without judgement) of the immediate environment and weather around you. When your mind starts chattering, you notice and accept this then gently return your focus to the present. Basically, you are letting go of thoughts and judgments to come mindfully into the present so that you can enjoy the experience more fully.
Mindfulness & Meditation
Meditation is one of the best tools to use to improve your overall mindfulness. Meditation also has many other health benefits thanks to the way it soothes the body and mind. There are many types of meditation and we suggest exploring a few techniques until you find the one right for you. When starting out, you may find guided meditations helpful to keep you on track and help you develop your practice, however if you are looking to deepen your practice you may wish to turn off the guidance and do the meditation by yourself in silence.
Mindfulness improves our emotional resilience, but how? When we practice mindfulness we are stepping out of our thinking minds into a state of non-judgmental awareness. Once we establish our capability to do this, the technique (of non-judgement) then becomes very useful for understanding and coping with emotions. We learn to observe our emotions from a wider perspective. We learn how we can 'turn towards' difficult feelings, really focusing on how they feel instead of getting lost in the stories behind them. Under such focused observation and acceptance, we can gain some control over strong emotions. This capacity gives us the opportunity to experience less suffering and act with greater grace and wisdom.
This is something that comes with practice and takes a reasonable amount of time and effort to integrate into your life. Simply understanding the concept is not enough, you must practice regularly to train your mindset to be able to use this tool. But the training is not hard, 10-15 minutes of meditation a day in addition to short stints of intentional mindfulness throughout the day may be enough to significantly improve your wellbeing.
What's the difference between meditation and mindfulness?
Meditation is a dedicated practice usually done seated (however may be done in other postures as well as walking) and centers around focusing the attention. Some of the most common meditations focus on things such as the breath, the body, a mantra, guided visualisation or a conceptual idea like loving kindness. Meditation can be done with or without guidance.
Mindfulness is something that is strengthened through meditation, it is a way of thinking that we can integrate into our daily lives and activities. Mindfulness is also a practice that we can tap into at anytime throughout the day without having to sit down and make the time to do it. Mindfulness is a way of being; of thinking, feeling and living with conscious awareness and intention. A mindful life offers us greater joy and less pain.
Would mindfulness be useful for me?
Mindfulness has shown incredible results in improving people's wellbeing across a huge variety of settings including primary schools, universities, workplaces, prisons, refugee populations, cancer patients, surgery patients, the police force and medical personnel to name a few. As you can see from that list, mindfulness can be helpful to a wide range of people from all different backgrounds and occupations.
A note of caution however, anyone with severe depression, anxiety, PTSD or other psychological disorders should consult their GP or psychologist before attempting meditation. During mindfulness we turn our focus inwards and this can be uncomfortable or triggering for some people. If you are unsure of your suitability please get in touch - we are happy to chat more.
Is this a spiritual or religious thing?
There is no doctrine or religious aspect to our presentation of mindfulness. Mindfulness originated from Buddhism but has now become integrated into a secular, western framework. Personally, we think mindfulness can be quite a grounded philosophical practice as it gives us the opportunity to look inside and discover ourselves, to gain understanding and wisdom from the essence of our own complex and unique human experience. Many people also see mindfulness simply as a training exercise or tool for a healthy mind and life.
Check out our suggested links from these trusted and inspiring sources.
Discover More about Mindfulness:
Resources for Getting Started with Meditation:
The Science behind Meditation and Mindfulness: