What is mindfulness?


You may have heard this phrase as it is often shared on social media and is becoming the must-do thing over the past few years. For those of you that aren’t aware of mindfulness, and how it can be used in our lives, read on.

Be present in the moment

The more cynical among you may read this phrase and sigh at its seemingly hippy nature, but living in the moment is not a hedonist statement nor do you need to be a crystal-wielding member of a commune to appreciate its benefits. Mindfulness is about stopping and concentrating on the moment you are in, the world around you and the people within it. All too often people worry about the future, or dwell on the past, and mindfulness can teach you, and your kids how to appreciate the very moment you currently experience.

What does it do?

Mindfulness makes us pay more attention to ourselves and our feelings. By addressing our emotions and understanding why we feel a certain way we can then find solutions for any problems we face. This is particularly helpful for children that have tantrums or feel anxious and as parents we can as our children how they feel right in that moment, and what has made them feel this way. By doing this, we allow our children to reflect on their own emotions for them to understand why they react a certain way in particular situations. Parents can help children realise that what they feel is important and that as their parent you will listen to them and their concerns.

Stress relief

As an adult, mindfulness can help you de-stress and realise the importance of being in situations that help your mental state. You can use mindfulness to take yourself out of a situation for example, when stressed, going for a walk among beautiful scenery can help to detach from a problem momentarily in addition to give you time to assess your problems and potential solutions. Purposely putting yourself in different situations can change the way you view the world around you and your own situation.

Problem solving

Once you use mindfulness to ask yourself what you are feeling and why, you may begin to see certain patterns. It is this awareness that can help us adjust certain factors in the future to help us react better the next time a similar situation arises. It also enables people that are prone to stress or depression identify symptoms of upcoming episodes, allowing them to get treatment and to feel more in control over their situation. Examined Existence offers excellent resource for exercises to assist with mental health which can be used alongside other mindfulness practices.

Mindfulness practices

Activities such as yoga and tai-chi are great vessels for mindfulness, allowing people to concentrate on their bodies, their breathing and even their surroundings. Others find mindfulness meditation a useful tool to concentrate the mind whenever it begins to wander into unhelpful territories.

Used well, mindfulness can help adults and children immensely, yet it should not be a complete replacement for professional advice, and so if you have concerns about your child’s mental health, or your own, seek professional medical advice.