Mindfulness for Beginners
In these troubled times, many of us are feeling stress and anxiety in a way that we haven’t experienced before. The practice of ‘mindfulness’ can help to alleviate and cope with stress and anxiety symptoms, but where is the best place to start to become more mindful?
Headspace is an extremely popular app which teaches you how to meditate. It has many different courses depending on what type of meditation you want to try, and what problems or challenges in your life you want to overcome. It also has a sleep section with calming music and sleepcasts if you’re finding it difficult to drift off at night.
Available online and via a smartphone app, Calm Radio has 500 channels of relaxing music in a variety of different styles and for different functions. Whether you want to improve sleep, reduce stress, or improve your focus, there is something for everyone.
No, not that kind of ‘adult’. Colouring books created for adults have been gaining popularity for a fair few years now, and are good for mindfulness as they encourage a ‘flow’ state. This is when you become completely absorbed in a task, which allows you to become more calm and less anxious. Spiral patterns such as mandalas are thought to be particularly conducive to developing flow, but any colouring activity works well, as long as you’re not the kind of person that gets stressed if you accidentally colour outside the lines!
Developing a gratitude habit can help you be more mindful of the good things in your life. Whether you keep a journal of things that you are thankful for, thank people for the things they have done for you, or simply think about all the things in your life you’re grateful for, this method of gratitude will lift your mood and help you see that things aren’t always as bad as they seem.
This technique is a fun one! Savouring is about stopping and pausing to really be ‘in’ the moment. You can do this with any experience, though it is often associated with food. Rather than just dashing through your lunch you can savour each mouthful and think about how tasty it is and how much you are enjoying eating it. Similarly to gratitude, this helps you to appreciate the good things in your life. Unfortunately you are not allowed to apply this technique to wine!
Remember, it is normal to feel stress and anxiety in times as momentous as these. However, if these feelings become overwhelming, you should contact your GP or NHS 111 for advice and support.