Monday, 30 January 2017

I Just Want Back In Your Head

Why I practice Mindfulness

While I never fully embraced mindfulness in Tony Bates’ book ‘Coming through Depression’, it is something I’ve tried to practice since. I attended a workshop on it in college and I found it to be really useful. Last year, while at a volunteer workshop I rediscovered Mindfulness.
Through a simple deep breathing exercise, I immediately felt more relaxed, calmer, and my fears had left me. I swore that I'd keep it up in times of stress. While I can reflect a year on from this workshop that I haven't quite managed that, mindfulness is something I know that I should return to. And what better way to ensure I do that than through a blog post?

What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist tradition – It's said to be up to 6,000 years old.
The focus is on your present physical state. It teaches you to be aware of yourself, right now, as you are. That means no worrying about what you've done in the past, or what you will do in the future. 
The Mental Health Foundation give this kind of cheesy definition: 'To be aware of your negative thoughts and judgements and to let go of them, open yourself to new feelings, positive ones.'
I can hear you yelling 'hippie bullshit' from behind your screens, but hear me out first.
Being aware of negative thought and judgements is also a huge part of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), and people aren't as quick to discard that. And positive feelings can't be a bad thing in any context, can they?

Mindfulness does get a bad rep due to images like the one above - the idea of meditation and lots of humming.
And sometimes it's easier to describe what mindfulness is, by explaining what it isn't. It isn't a religion. It isn't meditation.
But it is more than possible to be 'aware' without sitting cross legged while burning your incense (But if that's what helps you reach mindfulness, that's okay too). 
Today, mindfulness is recognised by counsellors and therapists as a form of CBT.

Living In the Moment
A lot of counsellors like to go on about ‘the present’. The ‘here and now’. And while it’s easy to dismiss this as waffle, it actually has a lot of truth in it. This is a huge aspect of the practice of mindfulness. 
There is no point in living in the past; you cannot change it.
There is no point living in the future; you don’t know what will happen.
Living in the present is truly the only way to find happiness.
It sounded a little bit ‘hippie’ to me at first. But when you think about it, it does make a lot of sense.
Mindfulness teaches self-awareness in this way - recognising what's going on now, right at this moment in time. So if you're feeling particularly emotional, don't bottle it up or try to hide it. Embrace your sadness, let it out and reflect on why you're currently feeling this way.
Mindfulness also refers to consciously noticing when your mind wanders. If we're to really to live in the moment, you should be focused on the present, and not the million and one other things that fight for the forefront of your mind.

Benefits of Mindfulness:

  • Used to treat physical and mental illnesses.
  • Fights Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety.
  • Helps to regulate emotions.
  • Improves performance.
  • Lowers levels of stress.
  • Used to treat chronic pain e.g. arthritis.
Basically there are so many benefits, it is impossible to list them all.

Stay tuned for a very simple and easy mindfulness breathing technique over the next week that can help with stress and anxiety.


  1. I find guided meditations for mindfulness to be very good but they were so difficult to stick to that my mind always drifts to where I don't want it to go. I've been using ASMR tapping to be mindful to and it's been working great :) x

    1. I'm really not familiar with a lot of mindfulness practices (just the couple I learnt in classes) but it definitely needs more research from me! x