What is mindfulness and how does it work?

Mindfulness is an increasingly popular way of enhancing our wellbeing. Basically, it refers to being ‘in the moment’ or maintaining an awareness of what we’re thinking and feeling, our bodily sensations and our environment right there and then.

As a non-judgemental and accepting process, mindfulness doesn’t assume a right or wrong way for us to think or feel at any given point. So, we’re not dwelling on the past or imagining the future – we’re just sensing the present.

The principle behind mindfulness is that by being aware of the present moment we take time to enjoy what’s around us and can distance ourselves from negative thoughts and thought patterns, seeing them for what they are – mental events – that, in themselves, don’t control us. This helps us to let go of negative issues and recognise that brooding or worrying is not helpful, enabling us to deal with thoughts more productively by noticing signs and specifically recognising anxiety or stress.

It’s a good habit to get into as we can actively choose to be mindful and decide to be aware of the sensations around us. It could even be when we’re walking to the bus stop or exercising the dog so it doesn’t have to take extra time, but it could give a new perspective on the world and how we feel, enabling us to understand ourselves better and even enjoy life a bit more.

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