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Mindfulness - what is it?

Mindfulness what is it?

Mindfulness - the buzz word!

'Mindfulness' gets thrown around now by everyone from GP's & health clinicians to 'wellness' bloggers and instagram 'celebs'; but what actually is it ? And what is it not?
Is mindfulness the same thing as meditation?
How is it relevant to mental health?

What is it?
Mindfulness is essentially the opposite of mind LESS ness. Put simply, mindfulness is being in the present moment and not in 'auto-pilot'.
Have you ever been driving and realised 20 minutes later that you remember nothing about your journey? Or started eating some chocolate and before you know it half the packet is gone? - These are common examples of 'mindlesness' or auto-pilot.

The most common form of mindfulness is meditation. You're instructed to become present in the moment and aware of your thoughts, internal dialogue and your current surroundings.

BUT WHY?

Daily mindfulness practice has been shown to increase focus, improve performance and overall mental health, increase emotional intelligence and the list goes on. It's been used extensively by the Australian cricket team, the Sydney swans, the Chicago Bulls and a number of successful sporting teams around the world. 

You don't have to meditate to start implementing mindfulness into your life!
If a mindfulness exercise seems like too much to start with, try creating some 'mindful moments'. Instead of going through the day on auto-pilot - focusing on what to do next etc. take a few moments throughout the day to check in with yourself, notice how you're feeling, what you're thinking and how this is impacting you. 

For example, you might take 30 seconds to check in with yourself before a work presentation or perhaps before having a difficult conversation with a loved one. Notice your breath, your heart rate, any anxiety that's present and any tension in the body. Often by doing this, we can feel more ease and our mind quietens down a bit, making it easier to focus. It can also assist us in making more informed choices throughout the day, instead of just operating on autopilot.

Try taking some mindful moments today and download the smiling mind app to start doing some daily mindfulness exercises.