What is mindfulness?

An easy way to describe it is the opposite of mindlessness—the times when you start eating a meal, zone out, and only come back to reality when your fork clicks against the empty plate.

When you’re on autopilot like that, you can miss some of the best parts of life.

Here’s how paying attention to mindfulness and meditation can help you.

Appreciating your present

When you give yourself five minutes to focus on your breathing and look around where you are, you can appreciate everything you have.

The fact that you can sit up straight and feel the material of the chair or bed you are sitting on, the fact that you can take five minutes with ease, all helps you appreciate your life.

Helping you sleep

Making yourself focus only on your breathing means you’re essentially turning off your thoughts for a while.

Your mind might wander, just as it does before sleep—making this a perfect bedtime activity.

Calming you

Meditation isn’t something you can rush.

For this reason, if you’re trying to stop thinking about something that makes you angry, paying attention to slow breathing and where you are at that very moment means that you’re able to take a step back.

Helping with depression and anxiety

If mental illness tells you you’re not worth anything, taking five or ten minutes specifically for yourself can prove it very wrong easily and effectively.

Turning off an angry brain might be more work when you’re ill, but it’s not impossible.

Treating addiction

Those in recovery from addiction have reported greater success in avoiding relapse when they practice mindfulness and meditation.

By focusing on the present, it pushes the past and the worries about the future to the side.

Improving mental function

Paying attention to your emotions, feelings and thoughts can help you untangle them and recognise how they could be driving behaviours or lines of thinking that are not happy.

Controlling emotions

If you find yourself quick to anger, try meditation.

It teaches you to experience emotions without acting on them—useful in situations outside meditation.

Promote creative thinking

Our minds wander when we let them, and we can come up with some of our best ideas like this.

Leaves you energised

Appreciating your present will often make you resolve to make better use of your future.

Gives you time to yourself

Five minutes to yourself might not feel like a lot at first, but they might be your only chance to calm down.
You’ll come to treasure them.

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