The overall health of a person is largely dependent on their mental state. With poor mental health, it is only a matter of time before an individual breaks down completely. Therefore. It comes as no surprise that scientists and experts have devoted a lot of time and effort to finding techniques and ways to improve mental well-being.
The journey to finding the best techniques for maintaining mental health has led to using a technique that involves making a special and conscious effort to be aware of the present moment. The technique is known as mindfulness, and its use in maintaining mental health and improving quality of life is well established.
In this article, you will learn about mindfulness, its benefits to mental health, and tips on practicing it.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves making a special and conscious effort to focus on the present moment while being aware of what you are feeling and thinking at the time. Mindfulness is simply being aware of the moment.
It entails a reconnection with the body and the several sensations it experiences. Consider this example. As you are reading this article, you are definitely breathing. However, are you consciously sensing your breathing? Are you aware of the inhalation of air and exhalation of carbon dioxide in the body? The answer is probably no. But now that I mention it, you have some partial awareness. Full awareness of breathing in and out is an example of mindfulness. The same applies to other sensations and senses in the body, like the sense of taste, sound, and smell.
Benefits of mindfulness
Mindfulness is not a recreational practice. It has many benefits to the body, both physical and mental. Practices like mindful eating, which employ the principles of mindfulness, can treat many eating disorders and combat obesity. Doctors have also used mindfulness in treating some breathing problems.
The benefits of mindfulness are not limited to physical health only. Mindfulness can help treat and manage many mental and other related conditions, like depression, anxiety, and stress. The reason for this is linked to the fact that mindfulness can help us keep more in touch with our body and brain, thereby keeping the body calm, reducing stress and anxiety. The use of mindfulness as a treatment option for these conditions is supported by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence.
Mindfulness can also be used in the treatment and management of more complex mental health issues. No mental condition is little or should be taken lightly, but some conditions require much more urgent medical care and attention than others. Examples of such complex mental health conditions are bipolar disorder and psychosis. Studies suggest that mindfulness can be used in the management of these conditions.
However, researchers still don’t know the exact mechanism behind its action, how well they work, or if they will work for everyone. But even if there is a small chance of mindfulness being able to treat these mental health conditions, it is definitely worth looking into.
Tips on practicing mindfulness
Mindfulness is not just something you can start and master in a day. Many people that start this practice usually end up frustrated and may drop the practice altogether after a while. This is likely because they are doing it all wrong. To practice mindfulness, you need the tips to guide you on the dos and don’ts, and you will find some of those tips below.
1. Know the right practices
Before you can practice mindfulness, you need to know the right mindfulness practices. It only makes sense. Some common practices are meditating in a cool and quiet environment, yoga, and tai-chi. Find a practice you are comfortable with, and start practicing it.
2. Be patient and consistent
Mindfulness is not something you can start and master in a day. I feel like I’ve said this before. You need patience and consistency if you want to reap the benefits of mindfulness. Be regular in practicing it, and don’t beat yourself up if things appear tough at first.
3. Don’t focus on the past and future
Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment. It is not a past or future thing; it is a ‘now’ thing. Free yourself from the shackles of the past and concentrate solely on the present.
4. Try new things
Don’t be reluctant to try something new when it comes to mindfulness. If you feel a particular mindfulness practice is losing its effectiveness, switch it up—simple acts like changing where your scenery and where you practice mindfulness can go a long way.
5. Pay attention to your body
The governing principle of mindfulness is awareness of your feelings and thoughts in the present moment. As such, you must ensure you pay attention to your body’s feelings and thoughts when practicing mindfulness. Don’t get distracted or carried away.
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