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What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the moment-to-moment awareness of one's thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and the environment without judgement. It suggests that the mind is focusing all its attention to what is happening right now, to what you’re doing, to the space you are in etc. Because we humans become over reactive and overwhelmed by what’s going on around us, we often veer from the matter at hand, and lose focus. Oftentimes, our mind drifts off, and soon enough you will find yourself thinking about something that just happened or things that might happen in the future. And this causes anxiety. Therefore, mindfulness is there to snap us back to the present.
How it works?
Practicing mindfulness exercises can help direct your attention away from overthinking and increase engagement with the world around you.
It helps to reduce stress, aids emotional regulation, decreases rumination, improves working memory, strengthens ability to focus and increases cognitive flexibility.
- Step 1, sit down in a comfortable and quiet place.
- Step 2, notice your breathing how deep or shallow your breaths are
- Step 3, notice how your body is positioned, where your limbs are placed
- Step 4, notice how you feel, which part of your body feels tense
Notice when your mind has wandered and when you do, bring your attention back to your breathing. When thoughts do come along, accept and acknowledge it. By becoming more aware and mindful of our own emotions and body, we will then be better at knowing what we need.
Regularly put it into practise and it will gradually become a habit. Make use of it in stressful situations such as preparing for an exam or handling a difficult task, or even when you feel distracted and need a reset to your attention and focus.
Encourage not only yourself, but friends and family members along, this enables discussions of the challenges faced, where it helps individuals better practise mindfulness in a more efficient manner.
This content is adapted, with permission, from Book 1 of 2 : The Wonders of Nutrition by Dr Ang Poon Liat. MBBS, M.MED (PAED), MRCP (UK PAED), FAMS, MD.