Imagine Health

Mindfulness meditation

Bamboo boat by Vera & Jean-Christophe
Bamboo boat by Vera & Jean-Christophe

Mindfulness is basically the act of being aware of your current experience, and encapsulates practices that promote our awareness of the moment. Its practice emanates from that of Buddhist monks who used such techniques. One can be mindful doing a multitude of activities, but common ways of cultivating the practice are through yoga and mindfulness meditation. The goal of mindfulness meditation is to bring the mind under greater control, but focusing the attention on aspects of the person’s current experience, in a non-judgmental way.

It has been shown that more intensive practice of mindfulness can decrease rumination, impact on stress and depressive symptoms and improve cognitive flexibility and attentional functioning.

So how can you start practicing and learning? There’s no definitive answer to this, but here are some ideas:

  • Stop for just one minute and turn your attention to your breathing, and try to incorporate this at various points in your day. Don’t judge yourself if your mind wanders, just bring your attention back to your breathing and congratulate yourself for doing so.
  • Observe and listen. Look at things happening in your environment with curiosity. Listen to something you enjoy, focusing on the sound.
  • Notice the feel and taste of things. Focus attention on the taste of a good meal. Notice that you have noticed.
  • Take up a hobby that you can focus your attention on and do mindfully.

Dr Frances Dawson,
Senior Clinical Psychologist