Britain is becoming a more mindful place. Four of WHSmith’s top-selling 15 non-fiction books are dedicated to becoming a calmer, happier person, and there are as many self-improvement books with a focus on mindfulness in Amazon’s top 20 best-sellers as there are get-fit cookbooks. That’s quite a feat for January! In fact, the Guardian reported that sales of books about spiritual growth rose by 13% in 2017 alone, showing that more and more people are beginning to take control of their own mental wellbeing.
But what is this zen-trend? Bensons for Beds has gathered a few tips to help you get into mindfulness, even from your bed.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a mental process of actively paying attention to the moment. This means cutting through wandering thoughts to appreciate things as they are. More often than we realise, we are experiencing thoughts, sensations, and feelings through a negative filter. Mindfulness is about expanding our awareness to gain a truer understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
Is It Really That Good for You?
In short; yes. The NHS has acknowledged mindfulness as a potential treatment for stress and anxiety, which is also the UK’s leading cause of insomnia. Practicing mindfulness before bed could help you find more peace of mind in your pillows, effectively combatting sleeplessness and radically improving your health and wellness.
Studies into mindfulness-based cognitive therapy have also shown positive signs in the treatment of patients with residual depression, cutting chances of a depression relapse by up to 34%. It isn’t a cure-all, but it is an incredible sign for people looking to take an active role in their own mental wellbeing.
How Do You Practice Mindfulness?
There are many ways you can practice mindfulness, from activities like yoga and tai-chi, to simply lying down on your mattress and regulating your thoughts:
- Take some time to concentrate on your breathing, whether you’re out and about or trying to get to sleep. Concentrate solely on the rhythm of your breath and the rising and falling motions of your body.
- Whenever your mind wanders to work, or to the dishwasher, or the bedding that needs to go through a wash cycle, gently bring your awareness back to that flow of breath.
- Focus on whatever you’re doing as you’re doing it. If you’re having lunch, concentrate on the flavours. If you’re out for a run, focus on the sensations in your feet. Try to be aware of where you are rather than where you are going.
- Actively engage more in every activity you undertake, whether it’s small talk over breakfast or dusting the bedside table. It’s often during these automatic processes that our minds start to ruminate towards sensations which are untrue.
- Dedicate some time to exercise. It doesn’t need to be weightlifting or yoga, but it’s important that your body stays active for you to maintain a healthy sense of wellbeing. Take the dog out for a walk and try to think of nothing outside of the park while you’re there.
- Don’t judge yourself. Sometimes we feel silly for trying things out, and you might start to undermine your own efforts to make yourself feel better. Remember that thousands of people are trying the same thing. You’re not alone.
Where Can I Learn More?
Browse the NHS webpage on mindfulness for a further breakdown of its health benefits, and visit Mindfulness for more information on getting started. Online magazine Visions released an exceptional issue about the origins and benefits of mindfulness which you can access for free. It goes into a little more detail, with tangible examples of how mindfulness really can change your life.
Relax into a new routine, with Bensons for Beds.