“Mindfulness has been shown to provide effective treatment for a range of psychological conditions including anxiety, depression and stress, and is now being used in a variety of ways, in settings from kindergarten to aged care.”
Have you ever eaten a snack and returned for more, not remembering you’ve finished it? Or driven somewhere and not remembered the journey? In today’s busy world, people often multi-task or focus on what’s next, instead of paying attention to the present.
Mindfulness is all about focusing on the present. By doing that, we let go of other ‘noise’ that is going on in our minds. That means instead of eating an apple while checking emails and worrying about how much you need to do that day, you slow down and focus on what you’re doing.
You think about each bite, the taste, texture, the sound it makes, and how it makes you feel. This simple technique might seem silly, but psychologists and psychiatrists claim it has real benefits when it comes to reducing stress and improving emotional, mental and physical health.
Mindfulness has long been a part of many religions and teachings such as Buddhism before it became more popular and mainstream in the 1970s.
ACH Group Head of Health and Wellness Services Kate Dobie says there is increasing research and medical evidence about the benefits of mindful practice.
What are the benefits?
- Mindfulness can boost the immune system, improve concentration and reduce stress.
- It can improve mood, boost clear thinking and increase feelings of empathy to others and even increase pain threshold (source: Journal of Neuroscience).
How is it done?
- Being mindful takes practice. It’s a good idea to start with a group or class to be led through techniques.
- Make sure the room is comfortable and quiet.
- You don’t need special equipment or physical skills. Sessions focus on training your mind to be focused and present.
- Meditation is sometimes combined with physical relaxation to help people to get comfortable