Tuesday 31 August 2021

Mindfulness & meditation

A brunette caucasian woman laid with her hair splayed out wearing headphones
Mindfulness meditations is something that I do several times a day; it's something that I've built into my rest periods within my Daily Plan.

I find practicing mindfulness meditations during my rest periods helpful as it's not too stimulating and I've found learning mindfulness helps me to stay and feel more grounded which in turn benefits my mental wellbeing. I've listened to different types of mindfulness meditations such as visualisation, breathing exercises, hypnosis and body scanning to name a few. Some types of mindfulness meditations I get on better with than others and often it's a case of trying different types of meditations out to find what works best and it's something that is very individual. I also find that on different days I prefer one type of mindfulness meditation activity over another.

As well as the type of mindfulness meditations I engaged in I've also listened to mindfulness meditations on different subjects such as pain management, anxiety, happiness, gratitude, stress, trauma and fear of the future. Some of these have been mindfulness meditation courses whilst others have been single mindfulness meditations.  I've even listened to crisis mindfulness meditations which are short exercises to help me deal with a particular problem.

There are plenty of mindfulness apps out there; this year I decided to sign up to two apps: Headspace and Relax Melodies (this one you can find my review of here). My Apple Watch also gives me free access to the daily mindfulness mediation by Calm - I personally would recommend all three of these but there are plenty of other apps out there too; these are just the apps that I've found I get on best with for myself. You can also find free mindfulness exercises/meditations on YouTube, though some on there I've found get interrupted by adverts which isn't what you want when you're trying to relax!

What exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment — free from distraction or judgment, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. - Headspace

Meditation is the exercise which leads onto becoming more mind-full this leads onto a state of living mindfully in our daily lives and being present in the moment. This is a skill that I'm still very much learning and trying to be more aware and conscious of and it takes a lot of time and practise.

The benefits of mindfulness

Emotionally mindfulness helps us to feel a greater appreciation and gratitude of the world around us. Mindfulness also helps us to better understand our own selves in terms of our needs and what emotions we may be feeling and maybe how to improve our own wellbeing.

"Mindfulness also allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experience... and to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful... This lets us stand back from our thoughts and start to see their patterns. Gradually, we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over and realise that thoughts are simply 'mental events' that do not have to control us." - Professor Williams, Mindfulness, NHS

Mindfulness helps people better deal with stress, anxiety and depression but it not only benefits people's mental health it can also improve people's physical wellbeing. In one research study mindfulness was found to improve patient's cardiac health. It's also been shown to help with the immune system and with pain. - mindful.org "Mindfulness Meditation Is Good for Your Health"