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Mindfulness and mental health

2-minute read

Mindfulness is about focusing on the present. Mindfulness can help you feel better and reduce stress. Researchers are also studying mindfulness and related techniques such as relaxation to see if they can help treat various physical and mental health conditions.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is paying full attention to what is going on in you and outside you, moment by moment, and without judging. It means you observe your thoughts, feelings, and the sensations of taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. You are also fully aware of your surroundings.

Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation principles. However, anyone can practise mindfulness to improve their self-awareness and wellbeing.

When am I not mindful?

Many people have routines in their daily lives, such as waking up and going to work or school. If you are doing something familiar in customary surroundings, you may tend to operate on autopilot and not notice what’s actually going on. For instance, you might eat a whole packet of chips in front of the TV without actually noticing the taste.

Some people spend a lot of time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Being too caught up in your thoughts may even make it hard to fall asleep at night.

Where to get help

Learn how you can introduce mindfulness practice to your life:

  • Black Dog Institute provides a factsheet with mindfulness techniques to practise at home.
  • Smiling Mind is a free app which helps develop mindfulness skills and can reduce stress.
  • Breathe - ReachOut.com suitable for young people wishing to practise and develop mindfulness.

Last reviewed: August 2017

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