Mindfulness is very popular at the moment. Unless you're reading this in the future when we've all turned against it, in which case, do you remember when mindfulness was popular?
Mindfulness an old Buddhist practice, but is just as relevant to today (or tomorrow). Mindfulness is more than just meditation, it involves paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment. Huh? Let's try and explain.
Life is crazy busy for everyone. It whizzes by at such a rate that we rarely take time to notice what's happening around us, much less what's going on within us. Mindfulness aims to change that. How? We've no idea...only joking, of course we do!
Think of mindfulness as being purposefully aware. Being aware of yourself, your surroundings, your body and your mind in the moment.
Our bodies and our senses are bombarded by sounds, smells, tactile experiences and visual cues all the time, but we so rarely pay any attention to them. We let them wash over us without giving them a second thought. Mindfulness aims to change that.
It is only concerned with the present moment. The past is gone, the future is still to be written, so the only thing we really have to be concerned with is, as the Chemical Brothers once wrote.. right here, right now.
Awareness is one of the steps everyone can take towards improving their mental wellbeing. You can start practising mindfulness right now. Is there any better time?.
Whether you're reading this on your phone on a train, sat at your desk or lounging at home on the sofa, you can practice mindfulness anywhere. And you should.
WHO DO YOU EVEN START BEING MINDFUL?
Start by paying attention to what's happening around you right now. Stop for a minute and take in what's going on. If you're sat down, how does the chair you're sat on feel? Hard? Soft? Cold? Comfortable? What can you smell? What can you hear? Take a few seconds to really absorb what your senses are telling you. Feel the wind on your skin. The noise of city around you. If you're scoffing a sandwich, pay attention to the food you're eating; its texture, flavour, consistency. Feel your breath as you breathe in and out. Feel how it stretches your clothes on your skin as your lungs expand and contract.
You can do this with your mind too, by being aware of your thoughts as they pass through your brain. Acknowledge them but don't try and force them, just let them happen. There's no right and wrong.
As you become more practised at living in the now, you will begin to gain clarity of thought. You'll experience everyday things in a whole new way. You will appreciate things you've never noticed before. You'll learn that the thoughts and patterns aren't there to control us, so you will be able to step back from them.
Like any new skill, it will take time and a little practice to master, but mindfulness has really helped the team at Men Tell Health. Try it. What have you got to lose?
If you're interested in finding out more about Mindfulness, we would heartily recommend this book, although there are many others to choose from.
We were recommended this book in particular by a Doctor and it has changed our life for the better.
If you have any experience about how any mindfulness has helped you and you'd like to share it with our community, please take a look at our 'Men Tell' section.