Life can go by so fast. What with deadlines, friends, hobbies and family commitments, more than often it can feel as though there are not enough hours in a day. It can often seem next to impossible to avoid stress. There is so much pressure to do things with the future in mind that we often forget to stop and leave in the now.
Mindfulness is living in the present moment, understanding and accepting all thoughts that pass through our minds. Mindfulness can help us enjoy the world around us, understand ourselves better, help determine why we get caught up in negative thoughts, help us to spot patterns and take control of our thoughts. It can also actively raise your awareness of when you are becoming anxious.
When you are in a negative frame of mind, mindfulness may not be your top priority, however by taking a few minutes to be mindful, it can give you a positive frame of mind and the motivation to continue being mindful.
When can you be mindful?
Anytime. Anywhere. Right now. In ten minutes. At 4am when you can’t sleep. At 11pm during a night out. Be mindful while you wait for a bus or are in a queue. Or when you wake up, before starting your day. Be sure to be regularly mindful. Have a go at being mindful for 5 minutes a day. Keep mindfulness to short bursts- small and plenty is more effective than long and infrequent.
How can you be mindful?
- Take note of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the world. Don’t put negative connotations on any of these. View them as neutral.
- Let your mind wander, focusing on nothing in particular.
- Name your thoughts. If you start worrying about an exam or relative, label it ‘Anxiety’.
- If worries about the future or regrets of the past pop into your mind, acknowledge you might be trapped in the past or future.
- Don’t multitask. Instead, just eat your dinner or just talk to a friend, being fully present in the moment. Eat your food slowly and deliberately so you have time to fully enjoy it.
- Put aside time each day to do nothing. Sit and think, with no distractions.
- Develop your concentration to help improve your mindfulness.
- Inhale and exhale deeply. Practice meditation.
- Do not accept excuses for not being mindful. If you say you are going to be mindful, be mindful. Ignore distractions.
- Slow down. Don’t rush. Give plenty of time to get things done.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Focus on what you enjoy and acknowledge that you enjoy it.
by student blogger, Megan Cork