Top tips for positive mindfulness

09 October 2015 - Jane Bozier, Registered Nurse and Mindfulness Expert at Bupa UK

When you’re feeling stressed, going to the gym can often be the last thing you feel like doing. Many of you may have exhaustive lists of responsibilities in your busy lives which often get in the way of spending time to yourself. However, there are many ways in which you can improve your mental wellbeing by making small changes. Taking a mindful approach to everyday tasks can promote a positive mind set, particularly if you struggle with your thoughts and feelings.

Here are my five top tips to promote positive mindfulness:

Mindfulness therapy is about paying attention to your experiences, without judgement and without trying to change what we think or feel. You can learn techniques to help you become more aware of how you respond to stressful situations. Focusing on the way you think and feel means you can eventually learn to break away from negative thought patterns, build up positive ones and find ways to deal with different situations. A simple technique could be to put a note on the bathroom mirror to either shower or clean your teeth mindfully. You can try a few of these exercises by listening to my podcasts.

Learning to live in the present is one of the key elements of positive mindfulness. This means being more fully aware of what is around you – what you can see, hear, touch and taste. It’s also about being aware of your thoughts and feelings as they are happening. People often find mindfulness harder to do than it sounds. By learning living in the present you can refocus your energy and attention to what you can control.

Mindful eating is the exact opposite of mindless eating. You may recognise mindless eating when you’re at home: eating while watching your latest box set on the TV is a classic example. Your eyes are on the screen and you’re automatically eating from a bag of popcorn, crisps or chocolate. By being aware of what you are eating, such as chewing slowly and thinking about the texture of the food, you can develop better eating habits which will benefit your mind. Improving your diet can protect against feelings of anxiety and depression too.

Incorporating exercise in your day can affect the way you think and the way you handle your feelings. Exercise can relieve stress and it can improve your mood, give you a sense of achievement and help you release tension. Mindful walking can also be an option if cycling to work or structured exercise is not possible.

Know your limits – don’t take on too much. You may want to fit more activities in your evenings or take on more projects at work. However, it is important to recognise that we all have limits and by accepting this you can manage your time better. All this can make you feel more in control and more positive.

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