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Mindfulness is a concept that has been around for a while but it’s only in recent years that it has really hit the mainstream. It has Buddhist origins but the benefits can definitely be accessed by anyone.
What is Mindfulness?
In a nutshell, mindfulness involves immersing yourself in the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or projecting anxieties about the future. This includes a strong focus on your thoughts and feelings and with the world around you.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Being “in the moment” is believed to have big benefits for mental health. Under normal circumstances, it’s very easy to lose focus with the world around you and be almost completely caught up in your thoughts -with no real connection to the effect that they have on behaviour and feelings. Mindfulness can counteract this by encouraging you to get a different perspective on the world and experience it afresh.
Mindfulness can also help you to get a better handle on your thoughts and how they feed into your emotions. You may then realise that some of your thought patterns are not helpful for your mental health. In the long run, you can train your mind to recognise when negative, unhelpful thoughts are taking hold so that you can deal with them more productively but this can take some time.
How to Engage in Mindfulness
If you’re wanting to start practicing mindfulness, here are some simple ways to introduce it to your everyday life:
# 1 – Becoming More Sensitive to Your Surroundings
In the early days, mindfulness can be as simple as taking some time to appreciate the feel, taste, sight and sound of everyday occurrences. It’s likely that you’ve been taking these kind of sensations for granted and that they therefore haven’t been triggering any degree of feeling as a result of this. This step might sound insignificant but it can work to break the ‘tunnel vision’ that many of us are currently stuck in.
#2 – Focusing on Your Thoughts
Taking a few moments to focus entirely on your thoughts is another top tip for mindfulness. The trick here is not fight your thoughts or judge them in any way. You may feel like doing this initially and that’s perfectly normal, but it should become easier with practice.
#3 – Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is an easy form of mindfulness and as an added bonus, it can be done pretty much anywhere. Focus on breathing from your abdomen (not from your chest) and through your nose (rather than through your mouth). This can be therapeutic, especially when you’re anxious, and is very useful for helping you to stay in the present.
Meditation, yoga and tai chi can all be very useful activities for this as they encourage you to pay close attention to your breathing.
# 4 – Listening to Music
Listening to music can be another tactic for mindfulness. Ideally, classical or new age music will work well. However music that you feel a connection to will also work well. The key here is to concentrate on feeling each note and the emotion(s) that it evokes.
Mindfulness, along with other important ‘drug free’ therapies like remedial massage, naturopathy, and acupuncture are important components of a holistic approach to getting and staying healthy. These alternative therapies can be accessed with a comprehensive health insurance policy. To find out more check out Health Insurance Comparison.