3 steps to mindfulness

Mindfulness is the buzz word of the moment, yet what does it really mean? And how can we practically incorporate mindfulness into our every day life?

Mindfulness is defined as ‘a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations’. It’s said that practising mindfulness regularly can reduce depression, stress and anxiety, boost concentration, mental focus and happiness and even boost immunity.

Try this three simple exercises to mindfulness into your daily routine and start benefiting straight away:

1.  One minute breathing

Start standing or sitting in a comfortable position. Start by breathing in and out slowly, holding your breath for a count of six once you’ve inhaled. Then breathe out slowly, letting the breath flow effortlessly out of the lungs. Naturally your mind will try and wander and thoughts will come in and out, but simply notice these thoughts, let them be for what they are and return to focusing on your breath.

2. Mindful observation

Pick something within your immediate environment and focus on watching it for a minute or two. It could be a flower or an insect, the clouds or the moon. Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at. But really notice it. Look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time. Try to notice the colours, shapes, textures, the way it moves and any noises it may make.

3. Touch points

This exercise is will help you to slow the pace down of your daily life. Think of something that happens every day more than once, like opening a door. At the very moment you touch the door knob to open the door, allow yourself to be completely mindful of where you are, how you feel and what you are doing.

Try to incorporate these three simple exercises every day for at least one week and notice the effect it has on your mood, focus and outlook.

Written by Ruth Tongue
(MSc Nutrition)