This blog was written by Taylah Steer, Health Promotion Practitioner at Peninsula Health.
We’re here in lockdown again. Although we are now seemingly pro’s at the lockdown routine, now more than ever we need to continue with the healthy habits we have already established, or even start building in some new ones. In particular, ensuring we have healthy habits that take care of our mental wellbeing amid the pandemic should be right at the top of our priority list.
In this piece we delve into the world of mindfulness. When your mind just won’t seem to stop or you are finding yourself in autopilot, mindfulness can be a great tool to employ.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the idea of learning how to be fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment. Mindfulness allows us to separate ourselves from limiting beliefs and stay open to possibilities. According to pioneer researcher in the field Ellen Langer, “mindfulness is simply the process of actively noticing new things”.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Practicing mindfulness can help to calm your mind in your day-to-day life, at work, and in your relationships. Mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety, help enhance relationships with loved ones and help you to perform a task well. Research also suggests that mindfulness may help people cope with long term health issues.
How can I practice mindfulness everyday?
We have compiled a small list of activities you can do each day to practice being more mindful below:
- Observe your breathing
Take a few moments throughout your day to tune into your breathing. You don’t have to twist your body into a yoga position, you may just close your eyes and pause for a few moments. If you get distracted by a thought, acknowledge it and gently shift your mind back to your breath. The more we practice this the better we get at responding, rather than reacting.
- Get out in nature
Studies have shown that spending time outdoors can be beneficial to your mental wellbeing. Whether it’s your backyard, your street or a local park, try and get outside. Notice what you can smell, see and hear around you.
- Take mindful breaks throughout the day
If you’re finding it difficult to concentrate, mindfulness can help to refocus your energy. Make the most of your mini day breaks, maybe practice the activities listed here. Just take a few moments to pay attention to your body, breath and what’s around you instead of what you’ve been doing.
- Put pen to paper
Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts and feelings onto paper. It allows you to focus on a feeling and why you may be feeling this way. Practicing this consistently can be a great way to notice your habits and patterns and recognise why these might be occurring.
For help and more information
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
Headspace: 1800 650 890
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277