How Can Mindfulness Help You Find Peace in a Hectic World.
Life can sometimes be a bit of a rollercoaster, even for those of us enjoying our golden years.
It’s perhaps no surprise that more and more people are suffering from issues such as anxiety and depression. After all, there is always one world crisis or another to worry about, alongside those everyday stresses that each of us has to deal with. But what can be done if you are suffering from stress-related symptoms – and is there any help available bar a trip to the doctor? The answer to this question is a resounding ‘yes’. To be more specific, a singular revolution in thought can help with these issues: mindfulness. Let’s find out more about this incredible concept.
What is mindfulness?
The concept of mindfulness was actually born out of the Buddhist practice of meditation, and is in fact a form of it. In a nutshell, the practice of mindfulness refers to remaining still in one spot for as long as you’d like to, focusing intently on the present moment. The theory behind this identifies the wandering of thoughts into the future or past as the root of stresses such as depression and anxiety. Thus, to eliminate (or at least alleviate) these, it stands to reason that living in the present moment would be efficacious. The concept of mindfulness was brought to the attention of those in the west through John Kabat-Zinn in the late 1970s. He was a pioneer of something called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) – which is now recommended as a first-line treatment by the NHS.
Does mindfulness really work?
They say that depression is caused by living in the past, and anxiety is caused by living in the future. Mindfulness aims to offset this by brining conscious thought into the present. This essentially creates a ‘gap’ in the thoughts to give your brain a break from the constant barrage of thoughts that these issues can cause. And mindfulness has been proven to be effective by a number of studies, many of them suggesting with great accuracy that the practice can improve both the symptoms of anxiety and improve mood states too.
Can anyone practice mindfulness?
The great thing about this concept is that anybody can do it practically anywhere. In fact, you can do it right now by following these steps:
- Sit comfortably in a chair, straight backed and alert.
- Close your eyes, or lower your gaze.
- Begin to focus your attention solely on your feet and nothing else. If thoughts cross your mind, guide your focus back to your feet.
- Work your way up the body until you’re holding the whole of your body in the centre of your focus.
- Retain this focus for as long as you need to.
There you go! You’re experiencing the benefits of mindfulness. Most people find that they have a clearer mind and are more able to let go of their worries. If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness, the NHS has some excellent material to get you started. Now get out there, relax and enjoy living in the moment!
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