Mindfulness

 

Most of us spend very little time in the present moment. Instead we spend a lot of our time in our heads, dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. In fact research suggests that we spend about 47% of our waking hours thinking about something other than what we are doing.

It’s normal for our minds to wander off to thoughts at times; after all, our mind is a thought machine. Telling your mind not to think is about as effective as telling your eyes to stop seeing or your ears to stop listening. However, research suggests that spending too much time in our heads, rather than in the present moment, reduces overall happiness and can lead to the development of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance dependence.

There are many definitions of what mindfulness is. We describe it as being more aware in every moment of your life. It is about intentionally paying attention to each moment, being fully engaged in whatever is happening around you and within you. It involves being curious and open to whatever is experienced, rather than habitual patterns of avoidance, judgment and criticism.

When we are not deliberately paying attention to something, our brain clicks off into Default Mode. This is a type of attention characterised by mental chatter. In contrast, when we deliberately pay attention to what we are doing, we experience things directly through the senses, and avoid getting caught up in worrying, dwelling, judging and fight/flight reactivity. You have probably experienced the present moment while engaging in activities such as exercising, playing music, being in nature, engaging in hobbies and spending times with loved ones.

Mindfulness begins with learning to focus on the moment. When becoming deliberately aware, we start to notice that while things can change from moment to moment, the awareness itself remains unchanged. When we bring open and accepting awareness to ourselves and others, we tend to act and relate with more compassion and care. We become gentler and kinder and our relationships start to change. Also, as we become better practiced at deliberate, open awareness in each moment, we become able to better maintain emotional equilibrium in any situation.

At Bridge Street Psychology our psychologists are trained in the application of mindfulness for a variety of different issues. To find out more about our experience in mindfulness visit our psychologists’ profiles by clicking here or call us today to make an appointment on 9876 1800. 

 

Mindfulness: Where to Start

We all encounter challenges when starting something new. Our willingness and openness to engage in something unfamiliar is the first step to building a new skill. Mindfulness and meditation can bring benefits to your life. You just need to give it a go! Learn more about some simple tips for starting a mindfulness or meditation practice.

Mindful Movement

Making time for mindful movement can increase a sense of calm and fulfilment. Mindful movement can be in various forms and finding a movement practice that works for you can allow you to feel anchored to the present moment and to be one with your body. Yoga is just one form of mindful movement that may enhance your mindfulness practice. Learn more about yoga and mindfulness.

Mindfulness:

Observe, Describe, Participate

Mindfulness involves the practice of skills. As a practice, mindfulness does not require perfection. Mindfulness skills can help you to observe the present moment without judgement, describe your surroundings clearly and allow you to effectively participate in your everyday activities with minimised stress and worry.