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What is Mindfulness?
You may have encountered the word ‘mindfulness’ before, or even seen CancerCare mention it, but what actually is it?
What is it?
Mindfulness is a type of basic meditation, with the main aim of helping people be more present and in the moment. It is done by having an awareness of what is happening for you both internally and externally, moment to moment. The idea is not to be critical of yourself or the thoughts that pop into your head.
Instead you learn to sit with your thoughts, and accept that they will come and go. By being more aware of how you feel in the present, and how the emotions and thoughts you have are temporary, you may find that you are able to cope with negative thoughts and emotions more easily.
How do I get started?
There are plenty of classes, apps and articles that can guide you through mindfulness which you may consider. We run Mindfulness groups throughout the year at our centres, so keep your eyes peeled on our website if you would like to be involved.
If you would feel more comfortable doing it without guidance and on your own, that’s okay too!
The general idea is:
1st: Find a place to sit, stand or lie down where you feel comfortable and able to concentrate on your mindfulness practice.
2nd: Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. You don’t need to do anything fancy, just keep it simple - focus on your breathing and explore how it feels to breathe.
3rd: As you continue breathing, be aware of your surroundings – what can you smell, how does your body feel in the position it is in?
4th: As you become aware of your breathing and surroundings, thoughts will pop into your head. This is fine and completely normal. Your mindfulness practice your aim is to try and accept the thoughts and feelings you encounter, rather than struggle with them.
Mindfulness is a skill, and it may take some time getting used to the feeling. As you are training yourself to change how you interact with your thoughts, it is a good idea to practice regularly if you can.
Where and when should I do it?
The great thing about mindfulness is that you can practice it when, where and however you feel comfortable. When people think of meditation, they often think of being sat cross legged somewhere extremely calm and peaceful. This just isn’t the case. You don’t need to be sitting and you don’t need to be anywhere in particular - where you choose to practice is up to you. You could choose to do it in bed lying down just before you sleep, or on the bus to work – do whatever feels right for you.
Hope you all have a great week!