In times of hardship and uncertainty, it is common to notice our minds wandering off to create thoughts and stories which can be destructive to our wellbeing. As humans, we can experience fearing the unknown and a lack of control over our environment. These experiences can influence psychological, emotional and physical aspects of our wellbeing. You may have heard of the “mind-body connection” before. This idea refers to the connection that your brain has to your body, and the ways in which your wellbeing can be affected by your thoughts and feelings. For example, stress or anxiety can manifest themselves somatically, in the form of stomach aches, headaches or other physical illnesses.
Mindfulness can help to intervene with unhealthy patterns of being and encourage healthy ways of living. To be in a state of mindfulness means to become aware of what is happening in the present moment, not letting our attention become buried in thoughts about the past or the future. The key to being mindful is to keep everything simple. We can sometimes feel that we need to fill every spot in our calendars or attend every event we are invited to (virtually or physically). This is where simplicity can foster mindfulness. Taking time for ourselves and clearing our calendars (and minds) of clutter allows us to create a space where we can practice mindfulness.
As is with introducing anything new into our daily routines, mindfulness takes practice. Mindfulness can be practiced in many ways and can look vastly different from one person to another. For some, mindfulness is practicing yoga or meditations, listening to soothing music or reading a book in a quiet space. For others, mindfulness is simply being in their own silent presence and focusing on their breathing. Additionally, when we can learn how to be mindful on our own, this new way of being flows into how we interact with others. Taking time to immerse ourselves in the interactions we have with others and ourselves, helps us strengthen this “mindfulness muscle” of ours.
With reference to the current climate that the world is in, mindfulness is a powerful practice we can take part in, to support our mental health in these times of stress and isolation. There are plenty of helpful resources and groups within local communities connecting with one another online, which you can check out if you are interested.
If you would like to seek support in finding ways to be mindful, or to overcome personal struggles you are experiencing, Breathe is offering Online Counselling services to assist you. We would love to connect with you.
MA. Counselling & Psychotherapy BA (Psychology)