At the moment maintaining our best health, whether it be physical or mental, has never been more important. We often think of our mental and physical health as separate but finding the connection between the two is a good way to manage our overall wellbeing.
Mindfulness is one way of making that connect. But what exactly is it and how can it help?
The term ‘mindfulness’ can mean lots of things and can be practiced in many ways. From how we go about our daily activities to meditation practice. We can practice it without realising sometimes too, when we are absorbed in a hobby, job or type of exercise we enjoy and need to think about, like yoga or swimming. Simply being on a walk and looking at things around us, without really thinking about them or having other thoughts is being mindful.
In essence, mindfulness is simply a way to bring our focus into the here and now, to the moment and to stop our minds doing what they do best: thinking. Why do we want to do that? Well, if you are happy and relaxed maybe you don’t but if you are suffering with your thoughts running away with you, leading to feelings of stress and anxiety, then effectively ‘red traffic lighting them’ can be super helpful.
In this way actually connecting our bodies and minds using mindfulness practice can be more than just restorative, it can literally be a lifesaver in times of anxiety or physical illness. Our minds can help our bodies and vica versa.
If you find yourself struggling with anxiety or stress, which many of us are, take a moment to sit, with eyes closed, comfortably and just shift your focus into your hands. Can you feel them? How do they feel? What sensations do you have? If you can’t feel them after a few moments, ask yourself ‘How do I know they are there?’. Just a minute of this can have a calming effect on your mind by stopping the runaway train of your thoughts.
If you’re partial to an App there are a few great (and free) ones out there to help you find some peace and quiet in your mind. Apps like Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer are particularly good.