When we hear the word mindfulness, it is likely to bring about thoughts relating to how beneficial certain things are to our health and wellbeing. For me, I immediately think of stillness of mind and the notion of being present in the moment. For others, it could be the art of breathing, stretching, journaling, singing, or walking in the woods while focusing on the sounds of nature. Whichever branch of mindfulness we think of, in essence, we might all agree that engaging in those activities is something we do, or know we ought to try and do, when feeling stressed out or unbalanced.
What does it mean?
The definition on mind.org.uk is a simplistic one that states: “Mindfulness is a technique you can learn which involves noticing what's happening in the present moment, without judgement. You might take notice and be aware of your mind, body, or surroundings. The technique has roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don't have to be spiritual, or have any particular beliefs, to try it.”
I would like for mindfulness to be more than a buzz term one might typically use in times of crisis, and for it to become sewn into the daily fabric of our day to day lives. I feel, especially in relation to young people living in residential settings, who sometimes the mindfulness techniques are given to, that their enthusiasm and willingness to engage in them could be greater were it be if those around them were modelling such practices. At the moment, I think the mindfulness practices might be seen as something that is offered to young people when they become heightened, instead of it being seen as a regular practice considered normative by those around them, which is done to try and maintain a state of wellness. Let’s normalise mindfulness and model it for our young people!
· It can reduce the feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety
· Increased emotional regulation
· Improved concentration and mental clarity
· An increase in feeling a sense of compassion and acceptance for self and others
· An increase in the ability to solve problems and other cognitive tasks
I am hopeful that my colleagues and I at bMindful Psychology will be able to provide useful information on various mindfulness techniques that people of all ages can engage in. It is thought that by continuing to raise the awareness of the potential benefits that mindfulness can offer, it might also normalise them into practices that are done to maintain wellbeing, instead of a reactive exercise after one appears to become distressed.
For more information the following sites offer some useful guidance in this area: