Mindfulness is perhaps THE word in wellness right now. Everywhere you look/read/go people are talking about it. There are courses, coaches, books, videos and more. What’s it all about?
The now, only the now
Mindfulness is about being focussed on the present (rather than the past or the future). Meditation and similar techniques can be used to improve mindfulness. Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism but has become very popular in western culture over the last decade or so.
Does it work?
Advocates of mindfulness claim that it assists almost every aspect of life: stress, anxiety, depression, quality of life, mood, work performance, weight control, concentration, energy, etc etc. Scientific studies have found evidence that mindfulness techniques can help to reduce anxiety & stress and may also help to alleviate depression, but the evidence in support of other claims is mixed or unclear. As is so often the case, this “flavour of the month” approach to wellness may be valuable but perhaps not AS valuable as some claim. Perhaps it is best seen as a habit or technique that can certainly support your overall wellness, without being any sort of “magic solution” all on its own.
Is it for me?
There seems little doubt that we tend to spend too much time worrying about the past and the future, so an improved focus on right-now, is surely a good thing. Developing a habit of slowing down, focussing more clearly, creating some calm, is certainly worth pursuing. You could read any of the hundreds of books available and you could sign up for courses, but you could make a simpler (and cheaper) start. We would recommend simply taking 3 or 4 5-minute breaks each day, where you find a quiet spot and simply sit quietly, calm your mind, stop worrying, breath slowly, and focus on now, only now. This is a good start. This is mindfulness.