With National Stress Awareness Month taking place during April, we’re currently focused on what it means to suffer from stress and how to improve this. Mindfulness is a fantastic way to help reduce stress, but it can take a lot of commitment to master true mindfulness. Put simply, the practice is to help find peace in a frantic world, creating a sense of calm and being meaningful in all that you do.
If you are suffering from stress, trying to become more mindful can help you manage this, and may even eradicate stress completely. Read on to discover the full guide to mindfulness, to help you reduce stress…
To be completely mindful you must achieve observation without criticism – learning to be compassionate towards yourself. Our 21stcentury lifestyles can cause us to be very self critical, punishing ourselves for not being good enough, being too lazy, not being attractive enough, not being competent – you can see why there’s a worldwide problem with stress.
Being mindful means becoming better aware of your thoughts and actions, and the decisions that you make. Almost all of us are guilty of operating on autopilot, carrying out daily tasks, making decisions without even thinking, and even thinking damaging thoughts without even registering what we are thinking. Every day we make hundreds of decisions, from what to wear, what to eat, how to act and respond to people, but mostly we don’t think about what we are doing.
In becoming more mindful you can start to improve any damaging behavior, taking the time to think about why you are doing what you are doing and why you think what you think and working to improve this where necessary.
Becoming More Mindful…
Mindfulness can sound like it’s very complicated, but it’s not really. To achieve complete mindfulness takes a lot of hard work and commitment – you practically have to retrain your brain – but it is possible to become more mindful with just a few small changes.
Start by trying to bring mindfulness into routine activities. Pay more attention to all the little things you do during the day. Focus on sight, sound, smell, taste and how all of these senses make you feel, try to notice more. Of course to start with this won’t come naturally, so try to remind yourself throughout the day to become more aware.
Set the tone for the day by taking 10 minutes to meditate in the morning. There are some great apps available to help you master meditation if it’s not something you’ve done before. Meditating in the morning will help centre your mind and set the tone for the rest of the day, helping you to be more aware and conscious of your thoughts and actions.
When your mind starts to wander, let it, but be conscious of it. Our minds are natural wanderers, and you shouldn’t stop your mind from exploring thoughts, memories and feelings. Be more aware of your wandering mind though, and if you find yourself thinking damaging thoughts, gently and non-judgmentally bring your mind back to the positive.
Mindfulness is all about becoming more aware of yourself, what you do and what you are thinking. It’s about learning how you might be causing unnecessary stress and upset to yourself and retuning your mind to reduce this.