Take yourself on a mindful journey to self-discovery and accomplishment
Just imagine: It is early morning. You find a quiet, safe space and close your eyes. What do you hear? Birds? Traffic? Now, you breathe in, feel the air coming into your lungs and concentrate on the mechanics of your breathing. You relax your body as you breathe in and ou…in and out. You take note of your physical state – you’re sitting; hands are resting at your side; feet, relaxed upon the floor. You feel where your back aches and sense the pressure in the seat you are on. You are aware of yourself and your space in the world. Now is when you pay attention to your thoughts and emotions. Are you feeling anything negative today? Why? Is there something you can do about this? Are there unnecessary negative thoughts in your head? You categorise these and decide how to deal with them. You let your mind shift back to your breathing, concentrating on the air as it fills your lungs, then slowly allow your eyes to open and you are ready to start your day.
Mental health is on the forefront of discussions this Mental Health Awareness Week (13 to 19 May) and as people become more cognisant of the importance of mental health wellbeing, new options are available to them to help cope with mental illnesses.
Such an option is daily mindfulness exercises, to manage powerful emotions or to just appreciate the here and now. But, just what is mindfulness? According to the NHS, it is a way to take stock of your mental, emotional and physical state. It involves the conscious identification of your current condition, both in the physical world and within you, and the choice to eliminate unnecessary or unwarranted feelings or concerns in order to focus on the present. Not only will this help you to cope with life; but it will allow you to make the most of your potential and fully engage in your family, work and community life, according to the Mental Health Organisation.
Every day, negative thoughts, concerns and stresses may enter your mind. You might feel overwhelmed and isolated. By taking the time to sift through these emotions and thoughts, instead of merely rushing through from task to task, you are able to prioritise your life and focus on what is important and what is superfluous.
In fact, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends mindfulness for people who have experienced depression upwards of three times. This does not take the place of depression treatments, but it aids in the recovery.
To find out about mindfulness read:
It’s ok to not be ok
There are many online resources for learning how to be practice mindfulness every day. So, why not take a few minutes every day to actually pay attention to the thoughts in your head and how they affect you? Listen to your body; breathe and feel the breath as it moves into your body. A few minutes a day of being conscious of your life; your situation; your negative thoughts and your possibilities, can improve your outlook significantly and help maintain a healthy mental state.