What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as the ‘quality or state of being conscious or aware of something’. To elaborate, it is a state of mind achieved by focusing on the present moment and acknowledging your own thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations at that time. Mindfulness is said to help mental wellbeing as it can help us enjoy our surroundings and understand ourselves better. It’s about appreciating being in the moment and not taking things for granted. Although there is some scientific debate surrounding its effectiveness and specifically who it is most beneficial too, mindfulness is recommended by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as a way to prevent and lessen the effects of depression and anxiety. Is there really any harm in stopping to reflect and enjoy life?
What does mindfulness mean to you?
‘Mindfulness is putting each worry on a flowing stream or leaf and watch them flow or blow by. It is a little bit of calm, calming the mind or distraction from your thoughts.’ -Anon
“The core of mindfulness is having perspective and the ability to step back and realizing there is certain things that shouldn’t be occupying your mind. Don’t get caught up in the micro, think of the macro”- Lottie May
“Student life doesn’t lend itself to have much free time. Between classes, socials and work we are always on the go. Trying to schedule in even a 30 minute period where you do absolutely nothing every now and then can make the world of difference” – Owain Campton
Tips on how to be more mindful
There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life, ranging from something as small as calming breathing patterns to something larger such as a yoga class or other exercise. Being mindful is a practice of self-care and self-reflection by noticing how and what you are feeling each day. Through noticing what you are feeling, it becomes easier to appreciate good feelings or overcome negative feelings. If you have the time, starting your day with a meditation or reflection is a way to be fully present and aware of the day, rather than rushing through life. Otherwise, exercise classes such as Pilates, tai-chi or yoga are perfect for concentrating on breathing and finding calm whilst engaging your body and working out. If none of these options appeal to you, simply taking a walk outside through the park or surrounding yourself with nature and the outdoors is a mindful approach to appreciating the world around you and being present.
Isabelle Thornton and Lucy Rawbone