The word mindfulness is now being used in countless contexts, which has led to some confusion surrounding its meaning and exactly what the concept entails.
Put simply, mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, to connect with the sensations and emotions that our bodies are feeling, and to start to process and understand them. But what strategies can we use to improve mindfulness?
Build Relationships with the People Around You
Having a group of friends or family who you can rely on to offer the necessary support and guidance is a good way to improve mindfulness. This has been demonstrated by recent research which found that such people can act as a stress buffer and improve coping, whilst also having a positive impact on your mood and wellbeing.
Unsurprisingly, research has shown that the importance of supportive people becomes even more pronounced when you suffer from a setback, such that this social support can help build your resilience and offer new perspective. This encourages you to not only see your mistakes in a positive light, but also see them as an opportunity to learn and improve.
Often, the most successful individuals are those who never settle and are continually looking for more effective ways to learn and hence better themselves. Being able to improve and develop your skills creates a sense of achievement, which can facilitate the development of better coping skills and higher levels of resilience.
Whilst most people realise the physical benefits of exercise, many often forget its psychological benefits. Engaging in frequent exercise allows you to become better at coping with stress. Furthermore, other research has shown that, for exercise to have an impact, it doesn’t have to be strenuous or time consuming. In one particular study, researchers found that getting participants to go for a short walk, even for just 12 minutes, improved happiness, confidence and attentiveness.
Keep a DiaryKeeping a diary is a good way to communicate your thoughts and feelings, which you can then analyse. This analysis often enables you to improve your understanding of the way in which you think, and hence develop better strategies to remove thoughts that are negative or unhelpful. Furthermore, having a tangible way to express your emotions is a good way to settle nerves, as writing these thoughts down gives you a sense of control.
Done well, mindfulness can make a positive impact. This is evidenced by research, in which 74% of first time users claimed they would continue to use such strategies in their daily routine. Everyone has the ability to better manage their thoughts, feeling and behaviours. This can quickly lead to meaningful and thoughtful change for the better.