Mindfulness is something we all do whenever we bring our awareness to what we are feeling or experiencing. It is the process of becoming aware of your thoughts without being overwhelmed by them.
Mindful meditation can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Eastern and Buddhist philosophy. Whilst it is a practice linked to Hinduism, Buddhism, and yoga in recent years it has become widely practiced as a non-religious meditation.
In a study conducted by Professor Mark Williams of Oxford University, scientists proved that it really does make you happier and calmer. Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre says, ‘mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment’. The clinical study showed that in people who have the most recurrent forms of depression, it halved the risk of relapse over a 12-month period. But it isn’t just beneficial those suffering from depression, other studies have found that it enhances wellbeing as well.
How can you start to practice mindfulness?
Much like training your body at the gym, mindfulness is tool that needs to be practiced regularly and can be mastered over time. It is important to dedicate time to learning how to be mindful and what techniques work for you. You may like to find a class and attend an 8-week course helping you learn how to be mindful. Others may prefer to read a recommended book such as this one or follow an online course on YouTube.
How can mindful meditation benefit you?
Mindful meditation may carry many health and lifestyle benefits for you. Studies suggest that focusing on the present can have a positive impact on health and well-being. Mindfulness-based treatments have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression whilst increasing concentration levels and easing stress levels.
There’s also evidence that mindfulness can lower blood pressure and improve sleep. It may even help people cope with pain.
You can read further about mindfulness on the NHS website here.