Mindfulness, what is it and how can it help you?

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You've probably read a lot about mindfulnes and being mindful, but what exactly is it and how can it help you better your life? I'm no expert, but I'd love to share my experiences and what I've learned in the past few years of training myself to become more mindful in my life.

A few years ago I suddenly lost some vision in my right eye, things looked blurry and warped. It started on a Sunday evening, and I assumed I was just tired, the next morning it wasn't much better but I went to work anyway. After sitting at my desk and switching on the PC I realised that I couldn't read the letters on the screen. After visiting to my G.P. and Eye doctor I received the diagnosis 'central serous retinopathy', my doctor said it was likely due to too much stress and I should take it easy for a while. That was the start of my journey into mindfulness.

Basically mindfulness is an extremely simple concept, all you need to do is be in the moment , there's not really much more to it. But trying to forget about any worries you may have, leaving thoughts about the past and the future aside and just focussing on the now is a lot more difficult than most people expect it to be. I know I found it very difficult myself, some thoughts just have to be acted upon, some just stick in your mind no matter what you try. But with practise everybody can learn to be mindful.

A good way to start practising mindfulness is to learn meditation, there are plenty of popular Youtube channels on the subject with training videos and guided meditation. My favourite way to practise meditating is with a guided meditation app, my favorites are:

  • Calm is very accesible with enjoyable meditation courses, the app also has calming music, and a multitude of bedtime stories. Especially good are Daily Calm, Daily Trip and Daily Move episodes.
  • Waking Up is more technical and I found it a bit harder to grasp the concepts that Sam goes into, but it's an awesome learning experience and feels more like real meditation to me than Calm does. The app also has a lot of courses and interesting talks with likeminded people .
  • Headspace, Insight timer, Smiling mind and many others are also available in the App and Play stores.

My favourite way to try being mindful is to emulate young children, the way that they are interested in everything they see, turning over rocks, looking behind that fallen log, examining everything but also lsitening to sounds around you. Try it, you'll probably discover things that you've been missing for years.

Once you've started training your mind to be in the moment you'll find that you are less irritable, more accepting and calm, and also better at your relationships. Good luck!

Photo by Pablo Nidam on Scopio

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