Mental Health Awareness Week: Mindfulness

This year, Mental Health Awareness Week (11-17th May) focuses on mindfulness. A mental practise that can help a person take control of their thoughts and feelings. We here at HMT St Hugh’s Hospital are therefore providing informative information on mindfulness to help you take control of a mental health problem.

What is Mindfulness?

Mental health problems commonly affect one in four people. Mindfulness, also referred to as “present- centeredness”, can be an effective tool to change a person’s perspective on life. Due to our busy lives, most of us take many moments for granted, failing to absorb the world around us. Mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings, as you will consciously take more notice of sights, sounds, smells and tastes, as well as observing your environment – which is a great way to improve mental health.

Mindfulness will provide you with an appreciation for each moment, as each experience will be viewed through fresh eyes. By taking a step back and observing the world around you, you may notice a pattern of your thought processes. You will view your thoughts and feelings as ‘mental events’ and so can learn to control your emotions.

What is the Best Way to Practise Mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be practised by simply becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings. It means taking yourself off autopilot and paying more attention to your environment. It will help change your perspective on life, as you will learn to appreciate the little things in life.

Embracing a new activity is a great way to practise mindfulness. Head somewhere different from lunch. Embark on a new activity. Do something that you wouldn’t normally do. Yoga, meditation and Tai-Chi are also a more formal way to practise mindfulness, as they are designed to help a person focus.