Saturday, 21 January 2017

What is mindfulness and how do I achieve it?


You might have heard the word mindfulness thrown around here and there but apart from hinting towards being something to do with the mind (duh), it's not exactly clear. So this week, I've decided to try explain a little more...

What exactly is it?

As defined by bemindful.co.uk, mindfulness refers to 'a practice that individuals and groups can do on a day-to-day basis. It can enable people to change the way they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences. As a mind-body approach, it can increase our ability to manage difficult situations and make wise choices.' It essentially refers to making a conscious effort to be more present in the moment, whether that be a situation, your body or your mind. While it certainly has its ties in Buddhism, mindfulness is more of a skill that any of us can learn, should we want to.

Mindfulness and mental health


It has been found by many studies that using mindfulness is helpful to manage mental health problems such as anxiety, mild depression etc. While obviously not a cure, mindfulness helps some people to be more aware of their thoughts and feelings and instead of being overwhelmed by them, they are then able to manage them better. 


So how do I do it?


There are various exercises to insert a bit of mindfulness into your life (with some great tools below) but here are a few things you can try: 


Breathe - You can do this wherever you are, whatever you are doing but ideally, you want to be able to focus. Pay attention to when you breathe in and then when you breathe out. Make them slower, luxuriate in your breathe (sounds odd, I know!). This is a great technique for calming yourself down if you ever feel anxious or worked up, there is something about drawn out breaths which help us focus. Forget everything that is going on and concentrate only on your breathing technique. 


Pay attention - We all find ourselves automatically going through our daily routines almost robotically. Find time to take yourself off autopilot. Make an effort to pay attention to what is around you. Take a walk outside and allow yourself the pleasure of nature. Notice your body and what it is craving from you and how you can help it. Mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment - not all those thoughts flitting around your head - and appreciating it. 


Control your thoughts - Allow yourself time to just sit alone with your thoughts. Hundreds of thoughts speed through our brains every day and now is the chance to sift through them. Calmly observe your thoughts and feelings and acknowledge them before they grow into something unnecessary. Realise that your thoughts come and go of their own accord, it is whether you decide to act on them which is important and the choice is yours. This time alone means you are able to think more rationally, in an environment that is comfortable for you.




What tools are there to help me?

Since it is currently gaining widespread popularity, there are now multiple resources available to those seeking help with mindfulness: 


Headspace

Headspace is sold as a 'gym membership for your mind.' It is an app dedicated to helping you create a happier and healthier life. I'd recommend starting with 'Take Ten', the free ten-day programme where you learn the basics of meditation. If you have found you have benefitted from this at the end, you can then subscribe which gives you access to lots of content which can range between anything from 2 minutes to an hour. The great thing is you can focus on one particular area you might be struggling with, such as health or relationships. I really love the app for learning how to incorporate mindfulness in everyday life and definitely recommend it. 



Happiness Planner
I'm sure you've seen these littered about Instagram as much as I have, but these planners are such much more than a photo prop. Instead of keeping you organised, the Happiness Planners focuses on your happiness. After all, what's more important than that? Through the planner, you apply practices of mindfulness and positive thinking, focusing on making each day a happy one with help from the planner. Aside from of course being beautifully designed, you are encouraged to practice self-reflection, set goals and concentrate on what makes you happy. I love the addition of quotes as for me personally, these are a great way to start the day on the right foot. If you're someone who loves writing (and even if you're not), this is a fantastic tool for you.

Colouring

You will almost definitely have noticed the colouring book trend that's been around for a couple of years but it's for a good reason - it's incredibly good for you! Used as an alternative method for meditation, colouring is often prescribed to patients as a calming tool. If you are focusing on the intricate drawings, you aren't paying attention to any troubling thoughts. This allows your brain some downtime and relaxation, a fantastic outlet if you often find yourself full of thoughts. This is incredibly therapeutic and in terms of mindfulness, removes negative thoughts and replaces them with positive ones, leading you to feel better. There are a huge range of options available to you, from Secret Garden to Ryan Gosling! I love Unwind in the Wilds* which is a nature-themed book and includes the most beautiful drawings. I find nature relaxing so for me and when I can't get outside, colouring images that reflect this really helps. You might not find you have to do much but why not give it a whirl? 




Admittedly, this is quite a different post for me but I've enjoyed putting something together that I've been interested in lately and thought maybe you might be too! To make it clear, I am not a Doctor nor do I have any professional qualifications. This is simply my take on mindfulness. If you'd like to find out even more I'd thoroughly recommend bemindful.co.uk which is a fantastic website.


*Post contains product sample sent for review. As always, views are 100% my own.

Emily x

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27 comments

  1. This is truly an amazing post, very inspiring, I love it, thank you for sharing!!!

    xxx

    www.noragouma.com

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  2. I've tried to be a bit more mindful myself and find if I reflect too much, a flood gate of emotions pours through, good and bad. Therefore I tend to leave it until I am all alone. But this is a great round of up on it <3
    Angie | Chocolate & Lipstick | Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

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  3. Love this post! I could use some tips from this! I really want a happiness planner!!

    Darriyan xo
    www.darriyancateland.co.uk

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  4. Breathing is the most important thing while suffering from stress and anxiety. I learned that the hard way and now all I do is step back, take one two or three deep breaths and it makes a huge difference. Also, I totally agree with colouring, every time I visit my 6 year old god-daughter and we colour, I feel so calm and relaxed, I need to get a colouring book for me asap!! x

    Yiota
    PinkDaisyLoves

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  5. I love the Headspace app, I just finished the 10 days and I'm thinking about getting a subscription since it has helped me a lot. I am also doing a sleep study at the moment (originally for course credits but also for myself since I struggle with sleep problems) and they also introduced mindfulness - they told us to think of thoughts like trains just passing through and I really like that idea. I'm also planning on buying the Happiness Planner, it's such an amazing concept xx

    113thingstosay.com

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  6. Omg I've never heard of a happiness planner - I want one! I really enjoyed reading this post :) X

    ♡ itsjessiejane ♡

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  7. I loved this post. It's so important to let go of stresses and negativity and always feel better for getting things off my chest. Thanks for sharing your tips. I like the sound of the Headspace app and the Happiness Planner sounds amazing!
    Jaz xoxo
    http://www.thelifeofasocialbutterfly.co.uk

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  8. This is a very inspiring post. Thanks for sharing all your tips :) also it's my first time on your blog and I'll like to say your banner is really pretty!

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  9. What a lovely post. I definitely was surprised at how much adult coloring helped me reach mindfulness. It definitely relaxes me and helps me switch off my mind.

    What a lovely and well written post. When it comes to stealing images or copying any aspect of a persons blog it's just terrible. it's well understood the headache bloggers go through to get their photos just right and having to rely on good lighting and getting fustrated during bad weather because we are unable to take photos. I've been meaning to do a tag on all my photos as a means of anti-theft but i've quite lazy and i have a feeling it will eventually come and bite me in the but. Haha Wonderful post jas. x

    www.themakeupaficionado.com

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  10. This is a lovely post and especially as I think many of us are on personal journeys of practicing mindfulness. I'd forgotten how many great resources and/or apps are around, so thank you! :)

    aglassofice.com
    x

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  11. I like the concept of mindfulness. It's something we all could use more in our lives. I love colouring books, they are like therapy to me. Also, I am thinking of purchasing Happiness Planner next year, it sounds so great and like a useful tool :)

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

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  12. Thankyou for this blog post! I didn't really know what mindfulness was until I read it! I am gonna download Headspace now :) x

    LAURA ­| Laura Thinks About

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  13. I definitely need to learn to be more present. When I feel stressed I do breathing exercises like you recommend. And I also bought myself a coloring book. Simple activities can really help you clear you mind much better than less involved activities like watching tv.

    xx Yasmin
    http://banglesandbungalows.com

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  14. Great post! I definitely need to remain present more, it's so easy to just go through the motions. That app actually sounds really cool. And in fact! I am going to go colour now haha. You totally reminded me I have an adult coloring book, and that sounds like a great idea. ;p

    -Emily www.coatandcoffee.com

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  15. This was really interesting! We often worry about the future and don't take enough time to enjoy the present. I'm going to work on these practices, so thank for sharing.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  16. Great post! I need to do mindfulness more! I love the look of the happiness planner x
    A Blushing Beauty Blog

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  17. This post was so relaxing to read, thank you so much for explaining everything!

    Parie x

    Class and Glitter

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  18. I did a few of my assignments in my third year of uni on mindfulness, really interesting concept and it's becoming so popular now!

    Lauren Ashleigh xx

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  19. I love your happiness planner! This is such a fun way to take care of yourself and your health. It is a very inspiring post :) http://www.bauchlefashion.com/2017/01/lingerie-with-benifits.html

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  20. Really interesting and inspiring dear! Love your planner, and love to draw and paint! Great tips to take care of yourself!! xoxo
    We can follow each other if you like... Let me know on my blog and I`ll follow you back!
    Vesna - Home Chic Club

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  21. I've heard the benefits of this with anxiety too. And I think we can all benefit from the simple steps you noted above. Even just breathing, it makes such a difference. So does colouring in hehehehe

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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  22. Interesting post, I've heard about apps like this and have always been intrigued into trying one, especially when I'm stressed, I've recently tried yoga which I don't know if you have ever tried/do but it is so relaxing (had too) but I've found it's helped me get that mindfulness and breathing techniques to be more peaceful

    S x | SHELISES WORLD

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  23. This is a great post Emily. Practicing mindfulness can make a huge positive difference.
    I use to get upset for days because I would ruminate things. I would think about what was upsetting me over and over and get upset all over again. I learned to stay on top of my thoughts and switch to something more pleasant whenever I feel I'm getting negative thoughts.
    I actually didn't know about the happiness planner, it sounds really good. Thank you for sharing.
    Have a lovely day and a great weekend Emily :)
    xo
    Sauniya | Find Your Bliss ♡

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  24. Lovely post, I love colouring I have an enchanted forest book it's so satisfying and relaxing.

    Lauren x Huggled

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  25. The Happiness Planner sure got my attention! Great post <3

    Tienne — foregathers.life/blog

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  26. I love this post! The happiness planner looks so cute! I try to practice mindfulness as much as I can but I really needed the reminder today, Thank you!!

    findyourownhope.blogspot.com

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  27. Oh what a lovely post, so inspiring and I really like that happiness planner. Great!
    xx
    Simon
    ZymDeals.uk

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