Be present

Mindfulness is a great tool to help you navigate through life and make sense of the world around you. It has been known to reduce stress, anxiety and stabilise emotions etc. It is mostly used on individuals whom are within the community or acutely ill. It is effective in centring a person.

Try this technique

  • Name 5 things you can see
  • Name 4 things you can hear
  • Name 3 things you can smell
  • Name 2 things you can feel
  • Name 1 things you can taste

This works well when someone is having a panic attack or anxiety attack. It brings the focus back to the room and help focus on the smaller things and not the whole entire picture at once.

Mindfulness has been around for a long time, but only recognised in the last few years, to be effective on those suffering from mental health issues. The technique allows the individual to stop and pay attention to themselves, whilst ignoring any outside stimuli. The technique is similar to meditation and can be practiced anywhere at anytime, in a group or individually.

Mindfulness can be used in any setting e.g. in the park, bedroom or a hospital setting. An example is it is used widely in psycho-oncology for inpatients and outpatients. It gives the patient time to reflect, take a step away from all the chaos and focus on themselves. Unlike many tools, mindfulness is relatively easy to learn and does not require extensive training. A therapist is able to explain and show the technique in one session. In addition, the tool is immediately effective, it does not take a few sessions to work. Mindfulness can often be used instead of mainstream therapies but often it is used in conjunction with therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Mindfulness can be used by anybody, you don’t need a specific mental or physical condition for this to work. It is a great tool to have, to help with daily struggles and cope with any major stressful events, which occur in your life.

A Simple Meditation Practice

1. Sit comfortably. Find a spot that gives you a stable, solid, comfortable seat.

2. Notice what your legs are doing. If on a cushion, cross your legs comfortably in front of you. If on a chair, rest the bottoms of your feet on the floor.

3. Straighten your upper body—but don’t stiffen. Your spine has natural curvature. Let it be there.

4. Notice what your arms are doing. Situate your upper arms parallel to your upper body. Rest the palms of your hands on your legs wherever it feels most natural.

5. Soften your gaze. Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward. It’s not necessary to close your eyes. You can simply let what appears before your eyes be there without focusing on it.

6. Feel your breath. Bring your attention to the physical sensation of breathing: the air moving through your nose or mouth, the rising and falling of your belly, or your chest.

7. Notice when your mind wanders from your breath. Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. Don’t worry. There’s no need to block or eliminate thinking. When you notice your mind wandering gently return your attention to the breath.

8. Be kind about your wandering mind. You may find your mind wandering constantly—that’s normal, too. Instead of wrestling with your thoughts, practice observing them without reacting. Just sit and pay attention. As hard as it is to maintain, that’s all there is. Come back to your breath over and over again, without judgment or expectation.

9. When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.

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