This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year the focus is mindfulness and its benefits. Mindfulness is a technique that encourages you to be more present and aware of everything – from your thoughts and behaviours to your diet and lifestyle.
In our infographic we have outlined some facts about mindfulness and offered some tips for being more mindful.
Research has shown mindfulness to be effective for helping those with depression, stress and anxiety.
The reason behind this is thought to be that mindfulness stops you thinking too much about the past, or worrying about the future – helping you to live in the here and now.
If you are interested in trying mindfulness, try spending one day at home, making it your very own mindfulness retreat.
Start by switching off your TV, phone and other electronic devices, then follow these steps:
Wake up and stretch
As soon as you wake up, stretch your body and take a couple of minutes to check in with yourself. How does your body feel? What thoughts are going through your mind? When you put your feet on the floor, notice how it feels. Look out of your window with new eyes and take in your surroundings.
When you’re taking a shower, consider all your senses. Feel the temperature of the water, the scent of your shower gel and the sound of the water. Notice the texture of your towel when you get out and how it feels against your skin.
Get dressed with awareness
Notice which colours you’re drawn to when you pick your outfit for the day. What textures have you chosen? How do these feel?
When you’re cooking your breakfast, lunch and dinner take pleasure in the experience. Notice the smells released when you cook, note the colours of the food and the sound of the cutlery.
Eating mindfully can help you become more aware of what you’re fuelling your body with and may even help you manage your weight. Today, when you eat, really think about the taste and the texture of what you’re eating. Focus solely on the task of eating and avoid multitasking.
Mindfulness is a meditation technique, so it is certainly worth trying to get some meditation in today. You needn’t spend hours doing this – take just 10 minutes to clear your mind and mentally scan your body from head to toe, noting how you feel.
Move with mindfulness
Go for a walk out in nature or try yoga. Both of these activities will encourage you to be more mindful when you move and are beneficial to your health.