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Sunday, 1st July

A Beginner’s Guide To Mindfulness

In today’s hectic world, we often rush through life without taking the time to really notice what is happening or how we’re really feeling. Whether you’re glued to a computer screen Monday to Friday, juggling your schedule around childcare, or prepping for exams - it’s easy to get wrapped up in your weekly routine.

Thankfully, Jon Kabat-Zinn created a stress-reducing technique called ‘Mindfulness,’ which he defined as the simple concept of ‘living in the moment.’  

“Mindfullness is a psychological process of being aware of what's happening, including your own thoughts, emotions and sensations, as well as the world around you.”

The key to successful mindfulness is to be aware of your thoughts without being critical, overwhelmed or reactive to them. You accept them simply as basic human thoughts and feelings. It is awareness without judgement.

We know what you’re thinking: is this just the latest bandwagon? But we’ve done our research and it turns out, taking just a few minutes out of your day to practice mindfulness can have an incredible impact on your wellbeing. The American Psychological Association has pinpointed several benefits of practicing mindfulness; from improving memory and focus, to reducing stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Have we convinced you to give it a shot? If so, starting to practice mindfulness is easy with our three-step guide below: 

  1. GET READY – pick a quiet, comfortable spot. Whether it’s a cushion on the floor, or your favourite seat, straighten your back and let your limbs relax. Gently close your eyes, or let your focus soften.
  2. FOCUS ON BREATHING – bring your attention to your breath and feel the sensation of your chest rising and falling. Whenever you notice your mind wanders from your breathing, don’t worry, just return your focus.
  3. ACCEPT YOUR THOUGHTS – it’s to be expected that your mind wanders during this exercise, especially if you’re new to meditation. What’s important is not letting yourself react to these drifting thoughts, and instead acknowledge them and return your focus to your breathing. That’s it – really!

Aim to complete two minutes of this exercise. After a few days practice, you may find that your mind no longer wanders during those two minutes, so you can begin to gradually increase this time until you reach 10 minutes per session.

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