Mindfulness as Self-Care
You may well have come across the term ‘mindfulness’ before. But would you like to find out more about exactly what this word means, and why it is an important resource for your health and well-being? We continue our mini-series on self-care resources by looking at the ways mindfulness can boost your resilience.
Mindfulness has experienced a surge in popularity, and it is likely that you have heard of it. Before looking at the ways it can promote self-care, let’s define what is and is not meant by the term.
Mindfulness is the mental skill of being aware of the present moment without holding any judgement towards it. It is linked to the ‘take notice’ component of the 5 ways to well-being. A common misconception is that mindfulness involves emptying the mind of all thought. This is not the case: the purpose of mindfulness is to be aware of the thoughts in your head and to accept them without judging.
Benefits of mindfulness
So now that we know what mindfulness involves, let’s see how it can benefit you in your day-to-day life. There are many benefits to mindfulness. For example, it:
Reduces worry, anxiety, and depression
Can be practised anytime, anywhere, making this a flexible personal resource
Increases your self-awareness, which can lead to changes in behaviour that will improve your well-being. For example, being mindfully aware can improve your mental and physical health by increasing the likelihood of making positive lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy meal, exercising, or being socially connected.
As part of our MST4Life™ programme, we have developed a series of grounding techniques. These are simple exercises that use mindfulness to bring you back to the present moment, refresh you mind, or give you a break from what’s happening around you. You can read more about grounding techniques in our previous blog post for more information.
What about other types of mindfulness?
Mindfulness can also be practised in a more structured way through guided meditation. Mindful meditation is known to reduce stress, improve overall well-being, foster a sense of kindness and compassion towards yourself, and even improve your sleep.
Have a go!
Now that we’ve looked a bit more in depth at what mindfulness is all about, and how it can benefit you, how about having a go at some simple activities?
You could try out the following, to boost your resilience and well-being:
Begin by using the mindful breathing infographic below. Try to use this when carrying out your day-to-day activities, such as sitting on the bus, or going food shopping. How does it feel knowing that you can practise deep breathing whenever you like, wherever you are?
Start a mindfulness journal to keep track of specific moments that you have enjoyed throughout the day. Learn to savour these moments and reflect on how they made you feel.
Try out different ways of being mindful. For example, when mindfully eating, notice what your food looks and tastes like. When mindfully walking, feel your feet touching the ground and lifting back up again.
Have a go at improving mindful awareness of your emotions using our interactive emotional awareness tool. If you notice you are feeling a bit low, you might decide to go for a quick walk to boost your energy levels and improve your mood.
Make a ‘joy’ list of simple moments that bring you happiness. This could be hearing the sound of the rain against a window, taking your pet dog for a walk to their favourite spot, or singing along to your favourite song on the radio.
Try out some guided meditation.
Download our free Mental Skills Training Toolkit for more techniques to boost your well-being and resilience.
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Photo credit: madelinerosephoto and thegleamingunderbelly on Reshot.