Thursday, 5 May 2016

Mindfulness: An Introduction

I've tried mindfulness before, but I don't often get very far as it's a concept I've always struggled with.
Living in the now requires a hyper-awareness that I try not to possess. Over the years I’ve conditioned myself to stop paying attention to what’s going on in my head. I’ve preferred to ignore my low moods and hope they pass rather than examining and trying to understand them. It only serves to amplify my mental health issues rather than solve them.
"Mindfulness shows us what is happening in our bodies, our emotions, our minds, and in the world." - Thich Nhat Hanh, 'Moments of Mindfulness: Daily Inspiration'
But I’m trying again as part of this month’s resolution – Don’t Rush. I want to learn to appreciate each moment, and to do that I need to become mindful.

One of the best brief guides to mindfulness is available for free online. Padraig O’Morain’s ‘The Quite Short Guide to Mindfulness’ answers all the most common questions on mindfulness and even contains some short and simple mindfulness practices.

For me, one of the major selling points of mindfulness is its benefits for mood regulation. I have anxiety and depression, and I often struggle with repeated negative thinking. Mindfulness can help you:
- stop focusing on the past
- stop worrying about the future
- stop comparing self to others

In 'Mindfulness for Anxiety Relief', Mike Mitchell argues the case for mindfulness in relation to anxiety as it triggers the natural relaxation reaction of the body. How? Through breathing meditations, Body Scans, Visualization, Tai Chi and Yoga.
"Reconnecting to simple moments in life, truly living moment by moment." - Patrizia Collard, 'The Little Book of Mindfulness'
I aim to try out all of these tools during the month, with a yoga class already booked!
But I also have another mindful method to try – journaling. Throughout the month, I’m going to be using writing and keeping my journal as a tool for mindfulness.

I’ll be creating and sharing with you my new regular ritual of journaling to help make relaxation techniques a part of my daily life. Let's call it - Mindful Journaling.
I hope you'll come back during the month and try out some of the techniques yourself.

Until next time,

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