The following is attributed to Saint Francis de Sales: “Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.”
According to happiness experts, Action For Happiness, awareness or Living Life Mindfully is one of the 10 Keys to Happier Living.
Learning to be more mindful and aware does wonders for our wellbeing, whether it’s on a walk, the way we eat or in our relationships. It helps us get in tune with our feelings and stops us dwelling on the past or worrying about the future – so we get more out of the day to day by living in the moment.
Question – What do you notice about where you are and how you feel right now?
The key to taking notice is ‘mindfulness’ which is often described as ‘the state of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present’. Two important elements of mindfulness are that –
- It is intentional, that is we are consciously doing it, and
- We are accepting of what we notice, rather than judging
In other words, mindfulness is openly experiencing what is there – what we can see, hear, touch and taste – and what is happening inside – our thoughts and feelings.
Scientific studies have shown the benefits of mindfulness in many aspects of our lives, and for all age groups from children through to the elderly. It gives us more control, therefore appears to be an effective way of managing stress levels. Some researchers claim that individuals with higher levels of mindfulness view difficult situations as less stressful and are less likely to avoid facing up to them because they feel better able to cope with them.
Mindfulness is also associated with the benefits of greater relaxation and rest, though it is not the same as these. Interestingly, it seems to help us be more relaxed yet more alert at the same time. And higher levels of mindfulness have also recently been associated with better quality sleep – see our earlier blog on the topic of sleep.
Although it is something that, in today’s busy world, few of us do naturally, living life mindfully is something that everyone is capable of. It can feel hard until you learn how, that’s why it takes practice.
If you want to know more about being mindful, check out the following websites/apps:
In the meantime, why not try out these Action Ideas:
- Give yourself a bit of headspace. At least once a day, stop and take five minutes to just breathe and be in the moment.
- Notice and appreciate good things, big or small, around you every day. Trees, bird song, the smell of coffee, laughter …
We hope we’ve given you some tips to help you through these difficult times.