It’s difficult to quantify the benefits that mindfulness adds to your life. One of the biggest benefits of learning how to practise mindfulness, however, is a marked improvement in your mental health.
Your mental health is as equally important as your physical health and you should always treat it as such. If you eat healthy, nutritious food and exercise regularly, you should dedicate the same attention and care to keeping your mind healthy.
This process, however, is not quite as simple as eating well and exercising – especially in the difficult time we currently find ourselves in.
In a recent video posted on the Awakened Mind LinkedIn page, I discussed how I find my mind racing ahead and catastrophising about the current COVID-19 pandemic, in spite of knowing better. Nowadays, I have to constantly remind myself to practise mindfulness and stay calm because that’s the best I can do.
Don’t get me wrong, though – good mental health does not mean you should be happy all the time. Constant happiness is an impossible standard to set for yourself and will likely make you unhappier in the long run!
What good mental health really means is that you feel valued, have a strong sense of belonging and purpose, function well as an individual and in your relationships, and you cope well with the challenges you face.
In short, it means that you are the best possible version of yourself, which is a goal you can achieve when you learn how to practise mindfulness.
Meditation and learning how to practise mindfulness
Meditation is a major element in the conversation on how to practise mindfulness. The benefits of meditation overlap with the benefits of good mental health and in many ways, meditation is mindfulness at its core.
When you meditate, you train your mind to focus on one thing, such as your breathing. This clears your mind, improves your concentration, and lessens anxiety and depression amongst a range of other benefits. Meditation, after all, is all about heightened awareness.
While this may sound easy, it can be challenging to meditate and maintain this awareness over a sustained period of time – even for me. Meditation, like mindfulness, takes practice. Once you have mastered meditation, you automatically understand how to practise mindfulness.
Spending a couple of minutes every day in meditation can drastically alter your mood and put you in a better state of mind to take on the day. It may be especially helpful to you during this time to clear up any uncertainty or stress you may be feeling.
If you are new to meditation or need a hand getting started, Awakened Mind offers guided meditation tracks as well as a variety of other resources on how to practise mindfulness.
When caught in an unprecedented crisis of seemingly endless proportions, it can feel like you have very little control over your life, let alone your thoughts. In these times, it’s important to remember that you are not alone and that we’re all going through the same thing together.
If you want to learn how to practise mindfulness in order to stay calm and resilient, then you must understand that mindfulness cannot be achieved overnight; it’s something you master over time. Your mindfulness will also be put to the test in trying times but this is also when mindfulness can be the most helpful to you.
It’s paramount that you don’t lose sight of this perspective.
If you have made an effort to cultivate mindfulness but still find yourself slipping into a negative, unproductive mindset, be patient and understand that feeling ill-equipped or panicked by this pandemic does not reveal an inherent weakness about yourself.
Mindfulness is a practice, not an achievement that can be taken away from you.
Mindfulness is always the answer
Whether this pandemic has forced you to work from home, left you quarantined, socially distanced or feeling isolated, learning how to practise mindfulness can help you manage your stress.
Learning how to practise mindfulness will help you focus on the good, relieve your stress, boost your immunity, improve your sleep, and help you manage your anxiety, amongst a host of other benefits.
Hope you’re all staying healthy, safe and at home.