How mindfulness can help you
Ever wondered what mindfulness is and how to incorporate it into your already busy life?
I know I’m not alone in feeling like there aren’t enough daylight hours in the day. I find myself constantly racing against the clock to squeeze it all into one day, and ultimately ending up feeling stressed, exhausted and drained. Often being in this rushed state I end up focusing on getting tasks done and not actually being present in the moment.
Being in this constant state of rush often leads to an increased feeling of anxiousness, increased stress or body tension, lack of sleep and increased pain state in people with persistent pain. We are starting to learn how important it is to slow down and pay full attention to what’s happening both around us and within us in a practice called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is focusing on the present, taking the time to observe your thoughts, feelings, taste, smell, sight, touch and sounds around you. Taking a moment to explore mindfulness has been shown to decrease stress, increase mental clarity and memory, decrease pain by decreasing body tension, increase sleep quality and quantity, and decrease depression and anxiety.
So how can I improve my mindfulness?
- Take a moment to breathe in slowly, then out before you rush to answer the phone, or dive into the next job to be done.
- Take a mindful hike. Go for a walk outside in nature but be aware of your surroundings. The feel of the ground, the smell of the bush, the sound of the birds etc.
- Embrace a moment of silence. Very rarely do we get a moment of silence so be sure to use it for some ‘mindful listening’. It might surprise you the sounds you’ll hear that you would normally miss. The breeze, the birds etc…
- Stop multitasking. Keep your mind on one job at a time and see what happens when each task benefits from your full attention.
- Turn off your phone. Try going without using technology, even for just 10 minutes. We are often tied to technology so much that we forget to talk to the people sitting directly in front of us. Give it a go, you might surprise yourself!
This post was written by Allyson Flanagan, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre.