The power of mindfulness is something we have been practising for many years at Homefield Grange Health & Wellness Spa Retreat and continues to prove an extremely popular part of our health programmes. ‘Mindfulness’ currently seems to be the new buzzword in the health and wellness industry. So why is ‘mindfulness’ suddenly becoming so popular, what is it – and most importantly, how can it benefit your life? This blog aims to answer these questions for you.
If you sometimes feel that you have no control over your thoughts, or you’ve had the experience of arriving at your destination and not really noticed how you got there – then practising mindfulness may well benefit you. We live so much of our lives on an automatic pilot these days it’s easy to feel disconnected from life.
Depression and overwhelm can often be the result of not feeling connected to yourself. Especially if you feel that you don’t have any control over your mind. Mindfulness teaches us that we can empower ourselves to firmly take back control over our own minds and manage any negative thinking that has an adverse impact upon our lives.
Perhaps the last couple of years of living through a pandemic has created the time and space for many of us to re-evaluate our values, our beliefs, and indeed our life journey. Mindfulness certainly aims to teach us to have a greater awareness of our planet and our place within it.
The UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) (1.Source), has stated that mindfulness can be an effective treatment for low mood, depression, and the prevention of depression relapse. Mindfulness, however, is not just about helping to lift you out of a bad place. We may all benefit from its practise whether we have a particular problem or not.
What is Mindfulness
Mindfulness aims to keep your mind and body in a healthy balanced place by creating a greater awareness of our feelings and gives clarity to our lives by helping us become present more in the here and now. Mindfulness helps us live our lives moment by moment. Instead of ruminating about the regrets of our past or our worries about the future.
In his book, ‘The Power of Now’, (2.Source), Eckhart Tolle, the German-born Spiritual Teacher, helps us focus on being conscious about our inner body – our emotional and mental state. Like Tolle’s philosophy on life, he states that mindfulness is about being in the present without judgement. Mindfulness teaches us to calm our wandering minds using the power of our breath.
By taking some deep breaths and paying attention to the breath, you can naturally stop the mind from ruminating. As you continue to practise this habit, you will find that you gradually stop attaching negative emotions to events. No longer do external situations affect you as much, helping you feel more connected but less emotional to life. Surely we would all benefit if there was less negativity and irritability present in our every day world.
Some powerful changes that regular practise of mindfulness can do for you are:
- Being kinder to yourself. Instead of driving yourself to meet impossible targets, overworking, over-committing, or overeating, mindfulness will help you feel more in tune with your body and its needs.
- Mindfulness can help you love and accept yourself for who and what you are and stop you harshly judging yourself all the time.
- Mindfulness will put you in touch with the small, simple pleasures in life instead of living in your head.
- Mindfulness can give you back your sense of power and control over your world, especially the workings of your mind.
So how do you practise mindfulness? Here are some ways that you can practise mindfulness today:
Take a walk
Simply one of the best ways to exercise. You can use walking as a mindfulness tool by noticing everything around you. Be present and conscious about what you see, what you feel, the sounds, the colours, the temperature. If your mind starts to wander, as it inevitably will, simply guide your mind back to being aware of walking and the world around you.
Anchoring is when you use an object, say a piece of jewellery that you wear – which you can use as a prompt to bring yourself into the present moment. I have a ring that my late mother left me, and throughout my day, when I look at it or touch it. It acts as my reminder to focus and connect with my breath and ground my feelings. Especially if life is not being particularly kind. It’s so easy to get caught up in overthinking, worrying, and ruminating about life. Using this anchoring technique really helps to create a natural break in the mind about stressing about the ‘busyness’ and anxieties of life. It’s one of my favourite and highly beneficial mindful techniques in calming everything down.
Use the Power of Smell
Take something that you love the smell of. Like your favourite aromatherapy oil, perfume, or a sprig of lavender. Hold it under your nose, close your eyes and take a few slow deep breaths, savouring the wonderful aroma. Use your chosen scent to bring you into the current moment. Relax your mind and let the smell bring a sense of calm and balance. If possible, use something that you can keep on you throughout the day to benefit from whenever you need it.
The Power of the Breath
An easy way to practise mindfulness is to do so with breathing. Use your breath to anchor your attention and to stop the constant internal chatter and babble of your mind. There is no need to change the way you breathe. Just simply bring your attention to it and focus on the wavelike rhythm of the in and out movement of your abdomen. This practise will automatically help calm your emotions and leave you feeling grounded and balanced.
In summary, if practised regularly, mindfulness has the ability to help you enjoy your time on this planet fully and consciously. It requires no special equipment or clothing, just a few moments of your time.
As the famous Mother Teresa states, the secret of a contented life is to “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle