There’s something to be said about taking the time to live in the present moment. Adopting mindfulness in your every day life can help reduce stress levels and even make you more productive at home, in the office or while studying.
What is mindfulness?
When was the last time you sat still and just lived in the moment without allowing your mind to race from one thought to the next? Being mindful is about focusing on the present and being aware of your senses and feelings, as well as your environment. Mindfulness involves tuning in to how you’re feeling in the present and observing your thoughts and feelings from a distance and allowing them to pass without judging them to be 'good' or 'bad'.
The benefits of mindfulness
More and more studies are showing the benefits of mindfulness. Research has shown that practising mindfulness can boost our immune system, along with reducing stress and even helping to fight depression. The practice can also help the brain to focus and improve memory and attention span.
How to practice mindfulness at home
A study published in the British Medical Journal has found that you can practice mindfulness in just one minute. Sit in front of a clock and do nothing but focus on your breathing – and just your breathing – for 60 seconds. It may be difficult at first, but the more you do it, the more you’ll train your mind not to wander. If you find a ticking clock too distracting, try sitting in front of a candle and just focusing on the flame.
The same study also suggests mindful walking. Go for a walk and release your thoughts and just focus on the feeling of the ground beneath you, the view around you, and the other people you pass.
Meditation and mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe has said, “We are so distracted that we’re no longer present in the world in which we live…that’s really not how it has to be.” In his TED Talk, Puddicombe explains how just 10 minutes a day of mindfulness meditation can improve your mental state.
How to practice mindfulness while working or studying
You can practice mindfulness at work or school without even leaving your desk.
Instead of filling every spare moment checking your phone or replying to an email, spend the few minutes you have looking out the window and just taking in the view instead.
Pick a daily task and do it mindfully such as drinking your morning coffee or eating a nutritious snack. This is a great for training yourself to practice mindfulness at work, school and at home as it’s something you can do anywhere.
Instead of attempting to multi-task, stop for a moment and truly savour the moment. For example, if you’re drinking coffee, pay attention to the feeling of the cup, the taste and smell of coffee and how it feels as you take a sip. Once your headspace is clear and you've learnt how to dismiss distractions, you'll be feeling much more focused and prepared to tackle your coursework or daily tasks.