What is Mindfulness and How Can It Help My Mental Health?

‘Mindfulness’ is a term that you may have heard quite a lot recently. But it’s more than just a trendy new thing to try; it can actually help to bring calm into your life. Some of the most successful people in the world – such as Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney and Kobe Bryant – credit mindfulness to helping them through particularly stressful moments.

While mindfulness techniques shouldn’t take the place of professional help, they are a great way to care for your mental health day-to-day. If you are struggling with mental illness, our free service can help you find the right psychologist for your needs. Start today – it takes just a few minutes!

In the meantime, let’s find out how exactly mindfulness works…

Defining mindfulness

Simply put, mindfulness (or ‘being mindful’) is the act of paying attention to the present moment as a means to find calm. Sounds easy, right? You might be surprised. In a world where we are always planning, worrying, regretting and fearing our past and future experiences, being mindful can be difficult. The current moment can barely get an acknowledgement from us because we’re so distracted by our thoughts.

To overcome this, mindfulness teaches us how to accept these difficult thoughts without letting them get in the way. This can be particularly useful for people who suffer from mental health issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety Disorders. For example, when you’re having a panic attack you might get stuck in a cycle of worry. In these moments, it can be hard to calm yourself as these thoughts tend to snowball into bigger, more intense ones. However, when you practice a mindfulness technique, you can help to soothe your mind and bring yourself out of this cycle. It brings our attention back to what is happening in the current moment, rather than what might happen in the future or what has happened in the past.

Choosing a mindfulness exercise

There is no one way to practice mindfulness. In fact, there are thousands of different exercises that you can learn and experiment with until you find one that you

really love. We’ve even written a blog on 2 techniques that we find helpful, so head over there to give them a go. The best part? It requires no equipment, costs nothing and can be done anywhere and at any time.

To begin with, it’s often best to practice in a quiet space. This is simply because your first few attempts at calming your mind might prove a little bit tricky. It can take a while to clear your mind of distracting thoughts. Ridding yourself of most distractions at first can help you ease into it. After a few sessions, you will find yourself more capable of doing these exercises in busier environments.

How it can help 

Not only can mindfulness be great for calming anxiety and mood disorders, but it can have other health benefits too. With regular practice, it is thought to help symptoms of chronic pain and sleeping problems. Our bodies work best when they are calm and at ease. That’s why 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation each day can really help you to feel your best mentally and physically.

Now that you know what mindfulness is, try giving it a shot. You might find that it really helps to ease your worries, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

If you want professional help, however, Ok To Talk can guide you in the right direction. We can match you with the right psychologist for your specific needs. The process is simple and fast – click here to get started today.