Mindfulness, once was a word used only in mystical teachings, now is widely used in all kinds of contexts.
In healthcare ‘mindfulness’ can be prescribed as a treatment for stress and anxiety. Research has shown it to be as effective as medication, and in the long term less expensive. It is used in industry, presumably to help employees to be more focused and more productive. My daughter, who is a journalist at the BBC, last month received a letter inviting her to free sessions on mindfulness once a week for 8 weeks.
I started a weekly mindfulness group two years ago at my house for those in their third age of life – 55 yrs+. I asked them what they wanted to get out of the sessions. As one would expect there was a range of answers from wanting to sleep better, helping anxiety, thinking clearer and having time to oneself. What was interesting after several weeks people noticed a whole range of changes; feeling more confident, appreciative of what they had, at peace with themselves and more alive.
What is Mindfulness?
To put it simply mindfulness is a method to bring us into the present without being distracted by thoughts of the past, or of future concerns. It is done by concentrating on the task at hand, or focussing on the breath. It also turning our attention inwards to become aware of our thoughts and feelings.
Focus on Everyday Tasks
As for the benefits, I would suggest give it a try and just notice if there are any changes. Try occasionally stopping what you are doing, and turn your attention to your breathing, just for a minute. Or when doing a simple task, like washing your hands, focus on what you are doing without letting your thoughts wander off. Not easy to do, but something that will improve with practice.
Dr Craig Brown