Mindfulness is a word that has been doing the rounds lately – but what is it exactly?

At its heart, mindfulness is simply paying attention to whatever is happening in the present moment and experiencing it without judgement and, if possible, with kindness.

Now, this might be a new concept to you, but the Buddhists have been practicing this method of living for thousands of years – and those guys are pretty chill, as you might have noticed.

Why should you practice mindfulness?  

Paying attention to what you are doing in the moment is actually harder than it seems in the beginning. If you’ve ever tried any meditation, you’ll probably be aware of how your mind drifts off and starts thinking about other things, even when it’s meant to be focusing just on your breath.

It’s the same in our daily lives. We may be brushing our teeth, tying our shoes or eating lunch, but chances are very strong that we’re not fully present in the moment. We’re thinking about something we need to do, or should have done, or don’t want to do. Or we’re thinking about that argument we had yesterday, or three years ago. Or we’re anticipating something happening – either good or bad.  

See how we’re hardly ever in the actual moment of living? We’re either in the past or the future, but rarely in the now.  

So, practicing mindfulness helps bring you into the present, into each moment as you’re living it. It helps you to truly focus on what’s happening right at this moment, without judgement and hopefully with kindness to yourself and others. And that can only be a good thing, right?

How do you ‘do’ mindfulness?  

Luckily, there are no special chairs or bowls or anything required to bring mindfulness into your life. It’s both as easy and as difficult as paying attention to what you’re doing right now, in this moment. Mindfulness isn’t about ‘doing’ it’s about ‘being’.  

For example, if you’re brushing your teeth, really focus on brushing your teeth, feeling the toothbrush work against each tooth.  

If you’re eating, concentrate on your food, really tasting each mouthful that’s going in, and chewing it properly. You’ll soon see that you often feel fuller more quickly – because you’re paying attention to your body.  

If you’re waiting for the bus, you can focus on what’s happening around you, rather than being on your phone, or thinking about something that’s not happening right now.  

Mindfulness is really easy to fit into your day. You can do it one minute at a time.  

Here’s a quick introduction to ‘Mindfulness Minute’ provided by Suicide or Survive to show you how to get started with mindfulness, and if you fancy doing the full workshop, you can find it online here.

No matter how much time you have it’s easy to squeeze a little mindfulness into your day by really paying attention to what you’re doing in the moment, whether that’s eating breakfast or brushing your teeth. If you’d like to find out more about mindfulness and how to implement it into your day, head over to Suicide or Survive’s Wellness Workshop and check out the full workshop available there.

Content provided by Suicide or Survive and orginally published on thejournal.ie. Find out more about our content partnerships.