Mind your wellbeing
From mindful colouring books to mindfulness meditation courses, it’s easy to see how mindfulness has taken the wellness world by storm. As is the case with most health trends, there are preconceived notions and common misconceptions.
One such misconception is that mindfulness is a “spiritual” or “hippie” practice. While it has roots in Buddhism, leading psychologists say it’s not a “woo-woo” practice.
“Because mindfulness is a form of meditation, some people believe it’s a practice just for monks or hippies,” says Matthew Young, director of the Melbourne Meditation Centre. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
What is mindfulness?
The Macquarie dictionary defines mindfulness as “a state of mind in which a person regulates their awareness of their surroundings”. In short, it’s being aware of our everyday experiences without judgement.
It’s surprisingly simple. In fact, you can be mindful of absolutely anything. That cup of coffee you drink in the morning? You can be mindful of each sip, its temperature and even the taste of it on your tongue. Simply becoming in tune with the present moment is being mindful.
“Mindfulness is not a ‘thing’, it’s a way of paying attention more consciously than we normally do,” says Matthew.
Dr Richard Chambers, a clinical psychologist and mindfulness expert, agrees.
“It involves paying attention to what we are doing with an attitude of openness and curiosity,” he says.
It’s rooted in science and psychology, with far-reaching benefits and the research to prove it.
“Practising mindfulness is one of the best things we can do to improve our wellbeing in the short and long term.”
Benefits of mindfulness
A mindfulness practice encourages us to be in the present moment, which prevents us from thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Experts say this is a powerful way to reduce stress and anxiety.
According to Dr Chambers, when we practice mindfulness, we “spend less time worrying and reliving past events, which reduces levels of stress, anxiety and depression”.
Mindfulness made simple
Don’t know where to start?
The good news is you can bring mindfulness into your everyday routine. All you need to do is keep bringing your attention back to the present moment. Try to incorporate mindful moments when you’re:
Want to know more? Read the Nine Benefits of Mindfulness blog.