Rachel Mendes da Costa, Wellbeing, Learning & Development Manager at Bupa Group, talks about the power of mindfulness.
Headspace, the popular meditation app describe it as the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we're doing at the moment - free from distraction or judgment, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.'
Mindfulness is based on meditation practises but doesn't have a connection to any religion or group. It can help those struggling with stress, sleep, depression and much more.
For me, mindfulness is simply being aware of what is going on around you and within you, and taking back control of the thousands and thousands of thoughts that fly through our minds each day.
The power of incorporating mindfulness practices into your day can be something as simple as realising that for the last several minutes you have been lost in less than helpful self-talk about an event that hasn't gone to plan or something that lies ahead, and then making the choice to step outside of that thought cycle.
It can be taking two minutes to remind yourself, when you are doubting your abilities, of how far you have come and what you have already achieved.
It can be taking 30 seconds to just breathe, and then realising that your heart rate has slowed and you feel calmer about the situation at hand.
You can even eat more mindfully which is believed to help you lose weight as you slow down and pay attention to what you are eating.
Mindfulness is about finding what works for you and making time for that. As someone who has struggled on and off with sleep, I now fill in a bed journal which encourages me to make sense of my day, see the positives and let go of what hasn't exactly gone to plan.
I think the key to mindfulness is starting small, learning the basic principles and a few simple exercises that you can easily incorporate into your daily life that work for you.
Here are some great resources to get you started: