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Steps to Greater Happiness Step 8 Mindfulness

As we are all facing increased challenges at the moment, many of us are feeling increasingly anxious, fearful and for some this can turn into frustration and possibly anger. Mindfulness has been found to reduce anxiety and irritability. There is research to show that it can boost the immune system and help with focus and concentration. So what exactly is mindfulness? Mindfulness is about developing awareness of the thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations going on inside us and the world around us. In our increasingly stressful lives we often end up going through the motions without really taking anything in e.g. eating without really tasting our food; driving the car and not remembering how we got somewhere etc. Mindfulness brings us into the present moment, reminding us that we are “human beings” not “human doings”. It’s easy to miss out on the joys of the here and now when our brains are reliving the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness helps us recognize that thoughts and feelings are like the weather, they are ever changing. It is easy to bring small moments of mindfulness into your day. 1. When you first wake up, scan your body in your mind and become aware of how each part of your body feels from the top of your head down to your toes. Be aware of your emotions and where you are feeling any emotional sensations e.g. head, chest, tummy etc. 2. For one minute focus on your breathing. Notice your breath where you feel it the most. This maybe feeling the cool air on your nostrils as you breathe in and the warm air as you breathe out. You may feel it more in the rise and fall of your tummy. Just focus on the breath, don't try to change it. Just be aware of it. 3. As you drink your first cup of tea or coffee of the day take the time to really savour it. Use your sense of smell to inhale the aroma; feel the warmth of the mug/cup in your hands and the sensation of the cup as it reaches your lips. Be aware of the liquid as moves from your mouth and down through your throat. 4. Throughout the day take a moment to use all of your senses to bring you back into the present moment. Become aware of what you can see, hear, touch, smell and taste. 5. At the end of the day reflect on 5 things that you are grateful for. Focus on the small things that many of us take for granted; the warmth of the bed covers, hot running water, food to eat, birdsong, the changing seasons etc. If you are struggling with anxiety at the moment I can offer help and support. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. www.balancedhorizons.co.uk #mindfulness #anxiety #wellbeing #calm #breathe


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