It’s a new year and for a lot of us, that means a fresh start. Many of us enter the new year determined to become fitter, healthier, or aim to give up our vices. Mindfulness and meditation could be the perfect tool to help us with those goals.
There seems to be a lot in the press at the moment about mindfulness, but mindfulness is not a new idea. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing, and yoga. It helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.
In November 2013 the University of Oxford published research showing that mindfulness reduces anxiety by 58%, depression by 57%, and stress by 40%.
Anyone can learn mindfulness, but it takes some training and practise to really get the hang of it. A great place to start, is by allowing yourself just one minute a day to be mindful. This can be anything from sitting quietly and focusing on your breath, to mindfully making a cup of tea. By doing these small meditations a few times, you will soon build up your practice, and find that you are including mindfulness in your every day tasks.
Practising mindfulness can give people more insight into their emotions, boost their attention and concentration and improve relationships. It’s proven to help with stress, anxiety, depression and addictive behaviours, and can even have a positive effect on physical problems like hypertension, heart disease and chronic pain. All the more reason to give it a go!
If you'd like to take your meditation and mindfulness practice even deeper, we recommend joining a class. Our friend Mel Wraight of Stillpoint Mindfulness runs classes for beginners and the more experienced in the Nottingham area.