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What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness, a way of life or just a minute of your day.

Many people have an idea of what Mindfulness is. Some say it’s not for them because they think it’s a load of airy fairies chanting “om” or talking about their emotions. It’s not like that at all, well it can be, but only if that’s what you like.

Mindfulness is a skill that you can learn, to help you deal with whatever life throws at you. The basic idea of mindfulness is being aware of the present moment and concentrating on that. And when you are concentrating on the moment you are in, you are neither dwelling on the past nor worrying about the future.

Yes, there are those who will enjoy a weekend Mindfulness retreat, but for most of us, we can practice being mindful as we go about our daily lives. Noticing spring flowers on your daily walk, really tasting the flavour of a new recipe or beer, watching the smile on a friend’s face when you’ve made them laugh; so long as we are noticing these things, we are being mindful. The more we can notice these small things, the fewer negative thoughts are going through our minds, which in turn helps our mood, emotions and our mental health.

So, what can you expect in a Mindfulness session? There is no need to feel anxious, nobody is going to make you do anything you don’t want to. The group leader will talk you through techniques that can help you to be more mindful. There is no need to share your feelings unless you want to. Some of the exercises may seem easy to do, others may be more challenging and will take practice to master. If anything seems too overwhelming you can stop at any point. A session may take place in an indoor venue or online and be just about Mindfulness. Other sessions may involve an activity, such as an outdoor fitness session, nature walk, or photography class.

Mindfulness may come easy to some, but for most it takes a little time and patience. The most important thing to remember though is that every time you try, even for a few moments, you are doing a little bit to help clear your mind. The more practice you have, the easier it will become until it just becomes a natural part of your daily life.

We all have mental health, and we all need to take care of it (even if we think we’re invincible), just as we have to take care of our physical health. Mindfulness is a simple way to keep on top and in control of your mental health when you’re feeling well, and a great aide to recovery when things aren’t going great. Small steps can sometimes turn a bad day into a good day.

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