Your lit­tle book of mind­ful­ness

Sim­ple ways to feel calm & cared for

In the Moment - - Your Little Book Of Mindfulness - By Har­riet Grif­fey Au­thor of “I Want To Be Happy”

"Be­ing able to fo­cus or 'switch off' from dis­trac­tions is an im­por­tant way to man­age the many stress­ful de­mands of daily life. Whether mind­ful­ness is a to­tally new idea to you or it's a prac­tice you want to strengthen or re­new, take a mo­ment now to con­sider its ben­e­fits as a tool for liv­ing. The beauty of mind­ful­ness is in its sim­plic­ity; it's a prac­tice you can eas­ily bring into your day to day rou­tine. Just a few min­utes of reg­u­lar prac­tise can help you to re­duce stress and face the chal­lenges of daily life feel­ing calm and cared for." Har­riet Grif­fey In The Mo­ment colum­nist and well­be­ing au­thor

What is mind­ful­ness?

Mind­ful­ness is a process of bring­ing con­scious at­ten­tion to what you’re do­ing. It is about be­ing ‘in the mo­ment’ and can be used whether you are read­ing a book, tak­ing a yoga class, walk­ing to work or hav­ing a bath.

In ad­di­tion, we can use these ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­mote a prac­tice of mind­ful­ness, be­cause when we con­sciously en­gage with an ac­tiv­ity, it helps us to fo­cus our thoughts. When done con­sis­tently, mind­ful­ness be­comes a way of be­ing in the mo­ment that re­duces stress and brings a sense of calm pur­pose into our lives.

There are no shoulds, musts or any one way to prac­tise mind­ful­ness. What is use­ful though is to find a way that works for you and prac­tise it reg­u­larly, even when you feel you don't need it — by do­ing this, it will be more ac­ces­si­ble to you when you do. The more we prac­tise, the more this strength­ens the neu­ral con­nec­tions that sup­port our abil­ity to con­cen­trate and re­duce dis­tract­ing thoughts, and the eas­ier it is to find fo­cus.

Think back to when you were a child or watch one at play. They ab­sorb ev­ery last drop of ex­pe­ri­ence and their con­cen­tra­tion can be to­tal, from watch­ing a la­dy­bird slowly walk along a twig to play­ing with a much-loved toy or drop­ping a peb­ble into a pud­dle to see the wa­ter rip­ple. They are ab­so­lutely present in that mo­ment, and you, too, can re­gain that feel­ing through mind­ful­ness.

What are the ben­e­fits?

Nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits of mind­ful­ness have been iden­ti­fied by re­search and these in­clude bet­ter fo­cus, stress re­duc­tion, boosts to work­ing mem­ory, less emo­tional re­ac­tiv­ity, more cog­ni­tive flex­i­bil­ity, greater re­la­tion­ship sat­is­fac­tion and re­duced ru­mi­na­tion (when those un­help­ful thoughts in our heads go round and round). The Oxford Cen­tre for Mind­ful­ness re­ported in a 2013 study that Mind­ful­ness-Based Cog­ni­tive Ther­apy (MBCT) pre­vents de­pres­sion in those who have ex­pe­ri­enced re­cur­rent episodes, with a 58% re­duc­tion in anx­i­ety lev­els, a 57% re­duc­tion

in de­pres­sion and a 40% re­duc­tion in stress. In 2016, re­search from the Uni­ver­sity of Sur­rey pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Oc­cu­pa­tional Health Psy­chol­ogy showed that there was a 23% de­crease in ru­mi­na­tion, a 26% re­duc­tion in fa­tigue and a 33% im­prove­ment in sleep qual­ity among those that com­pleted an on­line Be Mind­ful course. It is un­sur­pris­ing, then, that mind­ful­ness is also rec­om­mended by the HS in the UK.

“When we get too caught up in the busy­ness of the world, we lose con­nec­tion with one an­other – and our­selves”

Jack Korn­field, co-founder of the In­sight Med­i­ta­tion So­ci­ety in Mas­sachusetts, USA

How does it work?

Mind­ful­ness helps re­store feel­ings of calm and

fo­cus. It re­set­tles our in­ter­nal phys­i­cal self, low­er­ing our heart rate and blood pres­sure, which

in turn makes us feel calmer. When our body is calmer, this sends a mes­sage to our mind that tells

us we are calmer. The body-mind con­nec­tion is very real, and this is some­thing we can use to help

us in our prac­tice through mind­ful breath­ing.

“An im­por­tant part of mind­ful­ness is re­con­nect­ing with our bod­ies, as well as the sen­sa­tions they ex­pe­ri­ence. is means wak­ing up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present mo­ment. at might be some­thing as sim­ple as the feel of a banis­ter as we walk up­stairs.”

Pro­fes­sor Mark Wil­liams, for­mer di­rec­tor of the Oxford Mind­ful­ness Cen­tre

Il­lus­trated by Becki Clark

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