Your little book of mindfulness
Simple ways to feel calm & cared for
"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