Mindful or Mind Full?

Living in today’s chaotic and stressful world, especially with a pandemic affecting most of the world’s population never has it been more important to rest and recharge our minds and look after our mental wellbeing.

Until doing a course recently, I never realised what mindfulness was and how it could help me lower my stress levels, become more resilient and ultimately a happier person.

A brief definition of Mindfulness:

“Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis”
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness

Sometimes it is easier to understand what something is by identifying what it is not. If we look at the opposite of Mindfulness and explore what it is like to be Mindless, this might give you more of an idea what Mindfulness is.

Mindlessness

When we act mindlessly, we might find ourselves doing some of the following:

  • Causing or being involved in accidents, breaking/dropping things, being clumsy
  • Forgetfulness
  • Half listening to someone whilst doing a different task at the same time
  • Losing touch of the present moment
  • Get lost in thoughts/feelings
  • Ruminate on the past, worry about the future
  • Eat/drink without really being aware of it
  • Run-on autopilot (for example, driving between two places such as home and work without remembering the journey in between)
  • Multitasking and losing focus on the task/s at hand
  • Distraction with use of alcohol, drugs, work, eating etc

The Fundamentals of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a state of mind, a way of being. It incorporates a collection of techniques and activities, which encourage an individual to both live mindfully on a day-to-day basis, as well as tackling specific situations or events in a mindful way. Individuals use Mindfulness in a variety of different ways to suit their own needs, but there are fundamental elements that define Mindfulness. These are:

Pay attention – Focus on the task at hand and give it your full attention.

Be in the moment – Experience the moment you are in right now.

Don’t react, respond – Don’t automatically react to the experience with a thought or feeling based on how you might have reacted in the past. Respond to the way you feel about the situation as it is right now.

Don’t judge – Don’t label the experience as good or bad or judge whether you like it or dislike it. Allow yourself to experience things for what they are in this moment.

Be openhearted – Be less critical of yourself, others and of situations. Try to bring warmth, compassion and friendliness into every experience.

Stop Practice A quick and easy way to calm a stressful situation in the moment:

Stop – whatever you are doing – pause, set it down, look away, disengage Take a nice deep breath in and slowly release – be aware of a full cycle of your breath in the body - really focus on it.

Observe – bodily sensations, thoughts, emotions, don’t latch on to them just observe them float by without the need to do anything.

Proceed – what feels like the right step now, if you are still not calm go through another breath cycle.

For further mental wellbeing support If you want to know more about Mindfulness please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Darlington Mind also has a variety of other services which may be of interest to you and to assist with your need, please contact us via the following options: Email: contactus@darlingtonmind.com or Tel: 01325 283169 Mobile: 07572 888084 – see our services and support

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