Although mindfulness has been around for centuries (it has its roots in Hinduism and Buddhism), it has certainly gone mainstream over the last few years.
In essence, it’s the practice of ‘being present’. It’s about slowing down, paying attention to your thoughts, your feelings and your body and being more aware of the world around you. It can help you to reduce your stress levels, overcome fears and improve both your mental and physical health.
As Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, told the NHS website: “It's easy to stop noticing the world around us. It's also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour.”
The good thing about mindfulness is that you don’t need any special equipment or a large amount of time. You can do it when you wake up, as you walk to the tube, while you eat your lunch, during a meeting, at the gym...
Here are a few tips to help you slow down and have a more mindful life.
Get out of auto-pilot
Savour your morning coffee. Listen to the birds in the park. Look at your partner’s smile. Try to take notice of the things around you, however small.
Try new stuff
It’s easy to do the same old, same old but switching things up can give you a boost and help you to see things differently. Why not change your route to work or sign up for that new gym class?
Live in the present
We all do it – get trapped in worrying about the past or the future. Let go of everything else and try to focus on what’s happening right now (your breathing, your body, where you are, who you’re with).
Take a digital detox
Make a habit of stepping away from your devices each day (we promise Instagram will still be there when you come back :) Take this time to go for a walk or simply sit in silence.
Practice makes perfect
Although you can practice mindfulness any time and anywhere, you might find it helpful to do it as part of a yoga, Pilates or tai-chi class or by using a mindfulness app.
Want to know more about mindfulness?
KBPT recommends this article in the Evening Standard