The idea of mindfulness is a simple one – it is about learning to appreciate the current moment. It is about savouring every mouthful of a meal, so that you can truly appreciate it; it is about paying attention to the way the water massages your body in the shower; it is about going for a walk and taking notice of all the sights and sounds you come across on your way. Mindfulness is about increasing your consciousness of present moment and allowing yourself to revel in it. Should you be practicing it? Absolutely!
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Learning to live in the moment is something that many of us claim to aspire to, but actually it is far more difficult than we think. The pressures of everyday life mean that we are always having to think one step ahead, planning routines and scheduling events in order to meet a deadline or have a productive day. In fact, planning ahead is something that HydrateM8 advocate, filling up your water bottle in order to ensure you drink enough water throughout the day without having to resort to buying a convenience drink in a plastic bottle. If you constantly live in the moment, you often find yourself having to make-do with whatever is to hand. However, taking the time to practice mindfulness at certain points throughout the day certainly has its benefits.
It forces you to deal with emotions
When we are happy, it is easy to be mindful, relishing that euphoric feeling. When we are sad, we often try to push those emotions away, so that they can re-emerge at inappropriate times. If you are struggling with bad news or just having a bad day, taking a few moments to acknowledge those emotions and allowing yourself to wallow, just for a bit, can ensure they are properly dealt with so that you are able to move on.
Short Daily Practice Goes a Long Way
Studies have shown that regular mindfulness ‘sessions’ can help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve your relationships and help you to make better decisions. Mindfulness is essential for mental health and can even help improve your career, as you are better able to perform and be self-motivated. Working harder and seeing results can even improve your job satisfaction.
Mindfulness can also help improve your memory, since savouring every moment makes it easier to remember. You will find yourself more resilient to change or pressure, as you will be able to take individual moments to work through your emotions.
How Often Should I Practice?
The key is to make mindfulness a daily habit. Maybe start by having a minute in the morning to assess how you feel before you get out of bed. As that gets easier, extend the amount of time you spend ‘in the moment’, building up to around 20 minutes a day. That is long enough that you are able to reap the benefits while still maintaining a focus on future goals.