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Mindfulness
by TeenHelp December 2nd 2016, 02:46 PM

Mindfulness
By Jessie (Palmolive)

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about being with yourself and surroundings in a way that is not distracting. It is known as a form of meditation. Itís all about being in the here and now and not focusing on yesterday or tomorrow or whatís going to be for tea tonight. George Harrison once said ďThere is no past and there is no future Ö all there is ever, is the now. We can experience from the past but we canít relieve it; and we can hope for the future, but we donít know if there is one.Ē

There are two types of mindfulness. The first type is formal mindfulness, which is where you purposely take time out to be mindful. For example, formal mindfulness is planning that at some point in the day you will spend half an hour practicing breathing exercises. Whereas informal mindfulness is where you just stay mindful on day to day tasks such as brushing your teeth, making a drink, driving, going for a walk, reading a book and so on.

How can mindfulness help?

Practicing mindfulness can improve the quality of your mental and physical health. It can help relieve stress, improve sleep patterns, reduce physical pain and can also help with problems such as depression, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), anxiety disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and substance misuse. In mindfulness, you will come across judgmental thoughts which you will learn to let go of in order to help you become non-judgmental. It also requires attention, especially in formal mindfulness when you are taking time out to be mindful.

Where can mindfulness be learnt?

Anyone can learn mindfulness and this can be done by self-teaching. You can buy books or look on the internet for information and mindfulness practice. There are a lot of applications on phones etc and videos that you can find online to practice and learn mindfulness exercises. If you are under a mental health team, it might be worth asking about Dialectal Behavioural therapy (DBT) which includes mindfulness and more! Or you could look around for mindfulness groups in your local area in which you can get involved in.

Here are some examples of mindfulness exercises you can try at home. Just remember it might not come easy at first but donít allow that to make you give up on them!

A mindful tasting practice:
1) Take a piece of chocolate
2) Take a few deep breaths
3) Smell the chocolate
4) Feel the chocolate
5) Put the piece of chocolate into your mouth without chewing it or swallowing it. Concentrate on how it tastes and the texture of it in your mouth
6) Allow the chocolate to melt in your mouth before swallowing it.
7) Take some more deep breaths and reflect on the practice

Brushing your teeth:
1) Take a few deep breaths
2) Put toothpaste on your toothbrush
3) Smell the toothpaste
4) Put the toothbrush into your mouth and brush your teeth
5) Feel the way the toothpaste feels against your gums and teeth
6) Taste the toothpaste
7) Feel the bristles on the toothbrush going around your mouth

You can be mindful during everyday tasks as long as you are paying attention to what you are doing. You could encourage someone to try to be mindful when they find a moment during their day in which they can practice. You can also be mindful when watching TV, listening to music, having a conversation with another person, reading, sitting in silence and so on. These are all brilliant opportunities to practice mindfulness and I hope that if itís something you want to try, it helps you!

There unfortunately are barriers to mindfulness but you can overcome them! There will be constant distractions when you are trying to use mindfulness. It's about remaining mindful and allowing the distractions to come and go. For example, when you are mindfully listening to someone else, distractions such as the phone ringing, someone near you talking loudly and thoughts running through your mind can be distracting. This is ok because learning mindfulness isnít always easy. As you learn mindfulness, you will learn how to be in the moment and therefore those things I have mentioned, will not affect how you engage mindfully in mindful activities. It can also be hard to learn mindfulness as it can take practice but keep trying and you will get there. I have also heard many people say they don't want to be in the moment as this means dealing with the thoughts in your head but it's about being with them, accepting them, not letting them distress you and letting them be.

Just remember that mindfulness doesn't come naturally to everyone and it can take time to get the hang of it so stay calm and keep trying it!
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