Be Mindful

Being aware of what we are experiencing at a given moment, our sensations, thoughts and feelings, has been shown to enhance wellbeing.

 
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What is "Being Mindful?"

For many of us, our minds are constantly active. We are focused on scheduling plans, worrying about deadlines, making to-do lists, jumping from task-to-task, or thinking about upcoming appointments. Even as we complete these tasks or go from one place to the next, our minds are often caught up in thoughts and we are out of touch with the way our bodies are feeling. The opposite can also be true where we may not being doing much of anything but our minds are occupied by worrying about the future or bogged-down with unhealthy thoughts and negative feelings. In either case, we may forget to take notice of our surroundings and be alert in the moment. When we are distracted by our thoughts, we may not be paying attention to the here and now and we may not see how our thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviours.

 
Benefits of Mindfulness

Although our thoughts are important for productivity and it's natural to respond to stressors by thinking about them, learning to focus on the present moment can help lighten negative thinking patterns and maintaining a level of calmness. When we focus on the present moment, we can step back from our thoughts to see their patterns. We can train ourselves to recognize when our thoughts are taking over and learn to let go of patterns that are not helpful.

Being mindful by becoming more aware of the present moment can help us to:

  • improve our mental state,

  • enjoy the world around us,

  • appreciate things we may be taking for granted,

  • strengthen and widen our self-awareness,

  • better connect with ourselves and others,

  • notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and seek help when needed,

  • become better aware of our needs, values and interests,

  • make better choices that reflect our needs, values, and interests, and

  • achieve better control over our emotions and behaviours.

 

With improved self-awareness, we can set goals that are consistent with our interests and values leading to a greater commitment to and likelihood of meeting them.

How to Be Mindful
 

Being present and taking notice should be something we do daily. Observing our surroundings and reflecting on our thoughts without getting lost in them are small ways we can be mindful. Take a look at the simple suggestions and local opportunities for ideas on how to take notice and be mindful.

Simple Suggestions
 
  • Try “Stop - Calm - Rest – Notice.” Stop, take 10 mindful breaths, and rest while you notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you and the feelings within you.

  • Walk around your neighbourhood and look to discover something new.

  • Take pictures with a camera or try drawing or painting what you see.

  • Write in a journal.

  • Pick a regular time each day to stop or walk and pay particular attention to your surroundings.

  • When engaging in the other "ways" to wellbeing, stop to notice how you're connecting, being active, learning, or giving and reflect on how these activities make you feel.

  • Spend time outside and enjoy nature.

  • Try keeping a gratitude diary where you take a few minutes each day to appreciate small moments, things or people in your life.

  • Sit quietly in a busy place and notice the interactions around you.