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A Beginners Guide to Mindfulness Practices

With the hectic lives that we all lead, it can be hard to slow down and appreciate the present moment. Mindfulness is a practice that can help us increase our self-awareness and attention to our experiences in the here and now. In the last decade or more its increasing popularity has resulted in people being able to reduce stress, increase well-being, and improve their overall quality of life.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of mind where we are fully present and engaged with our experiences, in the moment, without judgment or distraction. When we are practicing mindfulness we are paying attention to this very moment; we are curious and open to what is happening or about to happen, rather than getting hooked in to the past or the future.

There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, including meditation, mindful breathing, or simply bringing your awareness to your thoughts and feelings, right here right now.

The benefits of mindfulness

With much research to show that mindfulness has a wide range of benefits, both physically and psychologically, the changes people notice are wide and varied. Mindfulness can help you feel more relaxed, more focused, and as a result, more productive whilst staying calm.

Increased resilience is another reported benefit of mindfulness. With a calm and peaceful demeanour you can more easily navigate life's ups and downs.

Mindfulness can also help you improve your relationships. By being fully present we become more connected with ourselves and those around us.

How to practice mindfulness

There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, but one of the most common is through meditation. Here are some simple steps to get started with a mindfulness meditation practice:

1. Find a quiet, comfortable space to sit or lie down where you won't be disturbed.

2. Find a comfortable position, either on a cushion or in a chair, with your back straight and your hands resting on your lap, or lying down with your hands either at your sides or resting on your belly.

3. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Notice the sensation of your breath in your nostrils as you breath in through your nose and then as it goes out through your mouth.

4. When your mind wanders, gently refocus your attention on your inward and outward breath. Everyone gets distracted by thoughts during these practices— do not judge or criticise yourself—simply tell yourself this is normal and come back to your breath.

5. Continue to focus on your breath for a few minutes, or as long as you like. Even 1-2 minutes a day is of great benefit and within a week you'll start to feel calmer and more centred.

Remember, mindfulness is a practice, and like anything, it takes time to learn how to do it. Be patient with yourself and keep at it.

With love,


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