Maybe I live in a mindfulness bubble, but I’m assuming most people have now heard about it, especially with celebrities such as Ruby Wax, Emma Watson and Oprah all endorsing its benefits. Oh and even top sportsmen, Roger Federra and Tiger Woods also practice – so I found out this week at the launch of Northern Ireland’s first Mindfulness Day.
Now we know it’s a popular concept, but what exactly is it? Well according to charity, AWARE, who launched the Mindfulness Day, research has shown that mindfulness has significant benefits for health and well-being. Clinical evidence also says that mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety for those with the illness of depression. It enables people to learn the skills that prevent the recurrence of depression. Mindfulness is a skill for life. By developing this skill you will explore and discover and become more aware of your feelings, thoughts and emotions – and begin to live your life in the present, where peace resides.
It definitely seems to produce a positive outcome for those who are involved in the practice. My favourite quotes from speakers on the day included “Be the change you want to see”, “The world is an awesome place if we let our minds go there” and “Practising mindfulness has made me happier”. Top praise indeed.
I have to say that it did help me on various levels. I went through a six-week mindfulness programme just more for interest than a need to work on anything specific. Individuals in my group took different things away, and I found that I now try to be kinder to myself and not be so self critical. Also I try and be more mindful in my responses to other people and not be so quick to react. Some might think this is very simplistic, but it has worked for me. The other myth I want to dispel is that mindfulness is for depressed people, this is not the case. Yes, it can help with prevention if you are prone to depression, but it is not a cure. Mindfulness is helpful for anyone who wants to manage stress, be more productive/focused in their daily lives or just need take some time out for themselves. There are videos or online support, but I found that being in a group scenario was beneficial and actually enjoyable.
Here is a link to AWARE’s mindfulness courses if you would like more information. In the meantime, here is a quick video I shot of Frank Liddy, who is AWARE’s mindfulness practitioner and inspiring ZEN teacher. It’s a short 2 minute video of a quick exercise you can do in the morning to start your day. Drop me a line and let me know how you get on!
Spotting local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at www.pulseprni.com