Mindfulness is a very simple form of meditation that was little known in the West until the last few years. It is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing your whole attention on how you are breathing as it flows in and out of your body. By focusing on your breathing in this way it allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind, and bit by bit, to let go of them. It is about observation without criticism and being kind to yourself. When stress or unhappiness is at the forefront of your mind, rather than taking them to heart, you learn to deal with them as if they are no more than black clouds in the sky. Mindfulness allows you to catch negative thought patterns before they bring you into a downward spiral, and begins the process of putting you back in control of your life.

“Living in the moment” has also been proved to have many health benefits and over time, mindfulness brings you long-term changes to your wellbeing and happiness. Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness can help prevent depression and positively affects your brain patterns to help you handle stress, irritability and day to day anxiety so that when they do occur they dissolve away more easily. Studies have also shown that those who practise mindfulness regularly visit their doctors less often, their memory improves, creativity increases and reaction times become faster.

Some points about mindfulness:

• You don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor (like the pictures you may have seen in magazines or on TV), but you can if you want to. You can practise bringing mindful awareness to whatever you are doing, on buses, trains or while walking to work. You can practise mindfulness more or less anywhere.

• Mindfulness practice does not take a lot of time, although some patience and persistence are required. Many people soon find that meditation liberates them from the pressures of time, so they have more of it to spend on other things.

• Meditation is not complicated. Nor is it about ‘success’ or ‘failure’. Even when meditation feels difficult, you’ll have learned something valuable about the workings of the mind and thus have benefited psychologically.

• It will not deaden your mind or prevent you from striving towards important career or lifestyle goals; nor will it trick you into falsely adopting a Pollyanna attitude to life. Meditation is not about accepting the unacceptable. It is about seeing the world with greater clarity so that you can take wiser and more considered action to change those things which need to be changed. Meditation helps cultivate a deep and compassion- ate awareness that allows you to assess your goals and find the optimum path towards realising your deepest values.

For more information about mindfulness please email me via hello@lifebodysoulspirit.co.uk.