The busy times that we live in can sometimes cause clutter in our minds which can quite often lead to stress, anxiety and depression. Sparing a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness can help combat these cluttered and negative thoughts and feelings, helping us work towards general feelings of mental wellbeing.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that originated from Buddhist practices and is the act of changing the way we think, feel and respond to our experiences, especially the stressful ones.
Mindfulness and the practice of it, is also now a very common method taught by counsellors and practitioners of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a system used for the treatment of mood disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, stress, anxiety and depression. This is a mixture of cognitive and behavioral techniques which deal with conflicting and emotional conditions, training our brains and the way we deal with our emotions at the time of heightened stress or anxiety or negative situations.
Basic Mindfulness practices can be as simple as being aware of the present moment. Noticing sights, smells, sounds and tastes and being aware of, but not controlled by our thoughts and feelings that can occur. This can be practiced whilst undertaking daily activities, that don’t require your full concentration, for example, it isn’t recommended whilst driving. It can also be practiced as part of a daily meditation routine.
To use mindfulness in a physical capacity, try walking slowly down the street. Concentrate on each step, what does your foot feel like in your sock, how does it feel inside your shoe, how does your foot feel on the pavement? What can you see, hear, smell or even taste?
Whilst practicing the same exercise, become aware of thoughts and feelings that occur in your mind. Don’t try to change the way that you feel or try and fix anything. Simply observe these thoughts and feelings as though you were an outsider, which after practice, can allow you to see the present moment more clearly. When we do that we start to understand ourselves better and appreciate the world around us more. This leads us to a state of mental wellbeing making our lives fuller and helps us manage stress and relieve anxiety.
Benenden approaches healthcare holistically and has a range of mental health services for members suffering with anxiety and depression and other mental health concerns. Our Psychological Wellbeing 24/7 Helpline is available for members to call 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We also have services which provide funding if you are referred by your GP to a counsellor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist but the NHS delay is expected to be lengthy. To enquire about accessing our services, please call our Member Services Department on 0800 414 8100.*