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Making sense of Mindfulness

What is it and why are so many people getting into it?

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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People are becoming more willing to talk about mental health these days and, as our awareness grows, we’re exploring new ways to mind our minds.

Mindfulness is a very popular technique and it’s popping up in conversation more frequently. So, what’s the story?

Mindfulness: The Facts

  • Mindfulness is all about becoming more aware of what’s going on in the present moment and becoming more aware of what’s going on in your own mind.
  • You can use techniques like meditation, controlled breathing and yoga to help you achieve this state of mind.
  • Mindfulness aims to help us manage our thoughts and feelings, so we don’t become overwhelmed by them.
  • Some people think it’s all about calming down but it’s not. Practising mindfulness may help you calm down, but it’s really all about becoming more aware and tuned into the world around you.
  • Mindfulness takes practice and you might not feel the benefits of it straight away. Don’t be afraid to give it time!

  • It is generally recommended that you don’t introduce mindfulness during a time that you are experiencing a mental health crisis. It is best to consult with your doctor first.

Ok, so how do I get started?

Well, that’s entirely up to you because there are lots of options available.

  • You can pick up tips about mindfulness for free online.
  • SmartPhone users can check out mindfulness related apps, some of which cost money and others which are free such as Headspace  There is a small fee each month but it is definitely worth it if it helps bring a little bit of calm into your life. Over 5 million users are already using it to help them to be more mindful. You can sign up for 10 free days use of Headspace which will allow you to have a chance to see if you like it.
  • Some people prefer to pay to go to scheduled classes, where they can practice mindfulness with others.

Are there different types of mindfulness?

Yep and, as with any kind of new activity, you’ll probably hear lots of confusing terms being thrown around. Two of the most common are:

  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): People who are stressed in life, work or relationships might practice this kind of mindfulness.
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): If someone has a mental health condition like depression or anxiety they may combine mindfulness techniques with elements from cognitive therapy to help them.

What will mindfulness do for me?

Well, that depends. It differs from person to person because every situation is different. However, it is thought to:

  • Help you appreciate what’s going on right here right now
  • Improve your concentration levels
  • Help you to focus
  • Improve your memory
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Help deal with depression
  • Give you a better understanding of your own emotions

There’s lots of research to show that mindfulness is good for our mind. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, taught mindfulness to a group of people with clinical levels of anxiety and found that 90% experienced significant reductions in anxiety - and depression too.Don’t panic if it doesn’t work straight away. And if it doesn’t work out, don’t despair. You can always talk to your doctor about alternative methods and treatments.


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Published Novem­ber 21st2014
Tags mental health mindfulness health
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